Ravens Are Healthy Down The Stretch
The Ravens are healthy at the right time as they prepare to head down the final four-game stretch of the season.
Baltimore doesn't have a single starter expected to miss Monday night's game in Foxboro against the New England Patriots.
The only starters to appear on the injury report this week were guard/tackle Marshal Yanda (shoulder) and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jeremy Zuttah, who were both given the day off Friday for non-injury-related reasons.
Yanda is listed as questionable to play, but is expected to suit up after practicing fully Friday and Saturday.
It's a far cry from when the Ravens were playing without five Pro Bowlers during their four-game losing streak earlier this year, and it gives hope that Baltimore can stay on a roll after winning four of its last five games.
Lewis Back Sooner Than Expected
Rookie guard/tackle Alex Lewis is already back on the field after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 10. It was originally estimated to be a six-week injury, but Lewis returned to practice Friday in a limited capacity after just a month.
That said, don't expect the fourth-round pick to suit up against the Patriots on Monday Night Football. He's listed as doubtful to play.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was impressed by the way Lewis worked during his rehab. He said he was getting rehab "24/7" during his time off.
"We've been in there working trying to get treatment, trying to get out there as quickly as I can," Lewis said. "I want to be part of the fun. I want to get out there and win some games with the fellas."
The injury first looked like it could be much worse considering that Lewis' leg bent awkwardly and he was taken off the field on a cart. Lewis said that once he found out it was a sprain, he wanted to get taped up and go back out on the field.
Instead, the Ravens have since shuffled their offensive line, and the timing worked out well. Yanda needed to switch from right guard because of his shoulder injury, so he slid to the left side to take Lewis' spot. Vladimir Ducasse stepped in at right guard and has played well.
That begs the question of what will happen once Lewis is healthy enough to return to game action. The Ravens likely won't move Yanda again, so does Lewis have a spot at right guard? Lewis said he hasn't played that position since his freshman year in college.
"We'll just have to figure out how to do it, and we'll just have to see how it goes as we go forward," Harbaugh said. "He can play right guard, there's no doubt. I'll also say this: Vlad is playing really well, so it's a good problem to have."
Gillmore, Taliaferro Still Sidelined
The Ravens still have two reserves sidelined by thigh injuries, as tight end Crockett Gillmore and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro have both been ruled out.
Gillmore has practiced just twice since the bye in Week 8. He came back for two limited practices leading up to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but may have re-aggravated the injury, because he went back on the shelf that Friday.
The Ravens currently have three tight ends with Dennis Pitta, Darren Waller and Nick Boyle, and don't seem to have a need for another.
Taliaferro hasn't practiced since Nov. 16. The Ravens have been comfortable with just two active running backs for much of the season with Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon.
Brady's Targets Are Hurting
The Patriots already don't have tight end Rob Gronkowski, and his replacement, Martellus Bennett, is banged up.
Bennett was limited in practice Thursday and Friday before being a full participant Saturday. He's listed as questionable to play. Bennett has 44 catches for 544 yards and four touchdowns.
Another one of quarterback Tom Brady's targets, wide receiver Danny Amendola, has been ruled out after an ankle injury kept him out of practice all week. Amendola has 23 catches for 243 yards and four touchdowns.
Amendola caught a 51-yard double-pass trick play from wide receiver Julian Edelman in the 2014 divisional playoffs, which tied the game and erased the Ravens' second 14-point lead.
Other reserve Patriots on the injury report include cornerback Eric Rowe (hamstring/questionable), safety Jordan Richards (knee/questionable), outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (hamstring/questionable) and special teams ace/wide receiver Matthew Slater (foot/questionable).