Terrell Suggs is back on the practice field, but he's still unsure whether he will return to game action this Sunday against the Houston Texans.
"Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there," Suggs said on Thursday, in his first meeting with the media since May. "We just gotta wait and at the end, [Linebackers] Coach [Ted] Monachino, [Trainer] Mark Smith, and our head ball coach, John [Harbaugh], we'll all make the decision if it's good for me to go out there and play."
An ESPN report released earlier Thursday said that Suggs was expecting to play on Sunday, just five and a half months after having surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. The report indicated that Suggs has family heading to Houston to see the game, but Suggs discredited that information.
"If it didn't come from Coach Harbaugh or myself, it's not really a credible source," Suggs said. "It's always better to ask the horse's mouth."
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year practiced Wednesday for the first time of the season, and said that his surgically-repaired Achilles tendon felt "alright" afterward.
He returned to practice just five and a half months after having surgery. Preventing further injury or a setback in the final stages of rehab is a priority as Suggs and the Ravens evaluate his condition and decide whether he'll play.
"That's always a concern," Suggs said. "You know how the guys are in this locker room. We all want to be out there when we can, so that's why you got the people around me that I trust.
"We're going to make the decision as a group, whether it would be better for me to sit it out or suit up."
Suggs is also getting guidance from his teammates not to hurry back before he's ready.
"I told him don't rush it," safety Ed Reed said. "Do not rush it, especially with a bye week next week, he could get much more rest. Of course we need him and we want him out there on the field, but we don't want him to come out there and get hurt again trying to rush back on the field. It takes time."
The final verdict on his status for this week will likely come late in the week. If he is activated for Sunday, then the Ravens would have to make a corresponding roster move to bring him onto the active roster.
"I was really going to take it down to the minute," Suggs said. "We'll all kind of know, but right now we're just feeling it out."
Suggs has spent the last five months aggressively rehabbing the injury. He reported to Baltimore at the start of training camp in July and has been a constant face in the building since then.
He participated in meetings, but while his teammates were out at practice, Suggs was getting treatment. For the first time of his 10-year career, Suggs had to work through a significant injury and spent most of his time in the training room, not the practice field.
"It's been miserable," Suggs said. "It's like being the kid that can't go out and play. You get to see all your friends out, and you're stuck in the house. It really wasn't a good feeling, but it was a good feeling to see them win."
Despite defensive struggles, the Ravens held their own with Suggs out of the lineup, and are tied for the best record in the AFC with a 5-1 mark. The team's performance in his absence gave Suggs the confidence that he didn't need to rush back to action.
"My team is 5-1, so there really isn't any pressure to hurry up and get back, where if it is flipped, I would be like, 'I have to get back out there and see what I can do,'" Suggs said. "But, with the job the guys who have stepped in are doing and have been playing thus far, it's really amazing, and at 5-1, it took a lot of pressure off me."
Suggs' return comes at a critical time for the Ravens, who dealt with the crushing blows of losing linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb to significant injuries on Sunday.
With both of those players likely done for the season, Suggs admitted that there could be some added incentive to get back on the field.
"That's always going to be out there in your mind," he said. "You always want to be out there with your brothers, especially when you lose your big brother. It's always going to be there, but at the end of the day we have to do what's best, not only for myself but for the team."
Teammates said that simply having Suggs back at the practice brought some energy to the field, and Suggs realizes that having him in uniform against the Texans could provide an emotional boost.
"If I'm out there, it potentially could be," Suggs said. "But if I'm not out there, it's business as usual. We have a job to do, probably against the AFC juggernaut, this is a great team, and we all know that."