Who's Playing, Who's Not vs. Steelers


The Ravens and Steelers are heading into their wild-card matchup feeling the effects of a 16-game season.

Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players, and they will have to turn to their backups for Saturday night's matchup at Heinz Field.

Monroe, Jernigan Both Out

The most significant injury for the Ravens is to starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, who will miss his second-straight game with an ankle injury.

Missing the game won't be easy on Monroe, as this would have been his first ever start in a playoff game. He never advanced to the postseason in five years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Ravens missed out on the dance last year.

With Monroe ruled out, the entire offensive line goes through a shift. Rookie James Hurst will start in his place at left tackle, and then Marshal Yanda will play right tackle after the season-ending injury to Rick Wagner. Rookie John Urschel will take over Yanda's normal position at right guard.

The Ravens also went with that configuration  last week against Cleveland.

"We thought James played well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said about his performance against the Browns. "[We] really don't feel a problem with James playing in there at all either, so it's a real plus for us."

The other injury question for the Ravens was the status of rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot/ankle), who was officially ruled out after missing the entire week of practice. Jernigan had been playing well over the last month, but the Ravens have a stellar replacement with Haloti Ngata returning from suspension.

The Ravens activated Ngata to the 53-man roster Friday, and made room for him by putting linebacker Arthur Brown on injured reserve.

Canty Probable To Play

While Jernigan is out, veteran defensive end Chris Canty (ankle/thigh) looks ready to return to the lineup after missing last week's game.

He was a full participant in practice all week and is officially listed as probable.

The only other player on the injury report for Baltimore is tight end Owen Daniels, who is probable to play. He had a veteran off-day during Wednesday's practice, and does not have any injury concerns.

Steelers Without RB Bell

The biggest news on the injury front actually came out of Pittsburgh, where the Steelers ruled out running back Le'Veon Bell because of a hyperextended knee he suffered against Cincinnati.

Losing the Pro Bowl running is a significant blow to the Steelers, as he was named the team's most valuable player and one of the best backs in the league. He finished the regular season second in the NFL in rushing with 1,361 yards, and he also caught 83 passes for 854 yards.

He has accounted for 39.6 percent of the Steelers' yards since Week 11, which is the highest percentage in the NFL, according to ESPN.

"Le'Veon Bell is probably one of the best running backs out there right now, so it's going to be a big impact if he's not playing," Ngata said this week.

With Bell out, the Steelers' backfield now consists of recently signed veteran Ben Tate, undrafted rookie Josh Harris and speedy rookie Dri Archer.

Pittsburgh doesn't have any other lingering injury questions heading into Saturday's game, as they have nine plays listed as probable.

Safety Troy Polamalu (knee) and cornerback Ike Taylor (shoulder/forearm) are  probable to play after practicing fully throughout the week. The question with Polamalu and Taylor isn't necessarily their health status, but whether the Steelers want to suit them up even if they are ready because they have struggled this season.

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