Judging by Terrell Suggs!(/team/roster/terrell-suggs/ad26be43-1380-45f1-b047-a91e850d9761/ "Terrell Suggs")' comments immediately after injuring his shoulder last weekend against the Tennessee Titans, you would think the Pro Bowl linebacker would be ready to play in the AFC Championship.
But Thursday, Suggs offered a different outlook.
Wearing a sling on his right arm, Suggs spoke to the media in soft tones that seemed to represent a dour outlook for his availability in Sunday's matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"We'll have to wait and see Sunday," he said. "I'm being optimistic about it, I hope so. But, as of right now, I really can't honestly answer the question for you. We'll just have to wait and see. All I can do is work hard to try to get it back healthy.
"We'll just have to wait and see."
The notion that Suggs might not suit up was a departure from what he all but affirmed after beating the Titans 13-10.
"Check my track record," he said in the locker room at LP Field. "I don't miss games. It's nothing. I don't even feel it now."
True, Suggs has been incredibly durable throughout his six-year career. Since the Ravens drafted him 10th overall in 2003, Suggs has played in all 100 regular-season and playoff games that he's donned purple and black.
And, he has produced. Suggs' 53 career sacks are second most on the Ravens' all-time list, behind Ring of Honor member Peter Boulware's 70.
"Certainly on Sundays, he is all business," said **assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan**. "He is durable. In the NFL, durability is probably as important as athletic ability. He's got both of those traits."
Suggs hurt himself on a routine sack of Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, chasing him to the sideline before he brought down the signal-caller and rolled on top of him.
After leaving the field under his own power, Suggs did not return for the second half. He has not practiced all week.
"It's the freakiest thing I've ever seen," said Suggs. "I looked at the play, and it didn't look like anything tragic happened. I just knew I couldn't do anything with it. I missed that game, but hopefully, I can play for this one."
If he can't, the Ravens are prepared to plug in **Edgar Jones**, who converted from tight end earlier this year, and rookie Jameel McClain!(/team/roster/jameel-mcclain/1b9210af-8755-4fdb-886e-580e37c99afe/ "Jameel McClain"), both of whom have seen minutes because of the Suggs injury and **Jarret Johnson’s **recent calf injury.
"Edgar and Jameel have done an unbelievable job with me being nicked up a little bit and Terrell coming out of the last game," Johnson said. "Incredibly smart guys. You've got Edgar playing every special teams [position] and tight end, and he knows the defense. You can't replace guys like that.
"You can just go down the list and look at the guys that have stepped up this year."
**Marques Douglas **could also get more playing time for Suggs as a down lineman.
Filling in for Suggs full-time is a tall task, however. He led the Ravens with eight sacks in 2008, adding one in each postseason contest. And, his 102 tackles were third-best in Baltimore, while both of his interceptions were run back for touchdowns.
Suggs will likely have to wear a harness to restrict movement of his right shoulder, one that would greatly hinder his movement.
"I'm not a doctor," he stated. "If they've got something that can magically stop me from using my shoulder to tackle somebody then… But up until then, I don't know."
Suggs had a magnetic resonance imaging performed on Monday, which didn't do much to cheer him up.
"At the end of the game, before I saw the MRI, I was very optimistic about it," explained Suggs, who could not remember if there was a tear in the shoulder. "I was like, 'Oh yeah, it's just a little bruise, it's not going to hurt come Wednesday.' Then we got the MRI, and it said something different.
"I think we have the best trainers in the world, so I'm going to do whatever in my power to get back."
Even though Suggs was designated as the Ravens' franchise player and is finishing out a one-year contract, he is less concerned with how the shoulder might affect him in the future.
With such a significant contest on tap, against a despised division rival, it is less about Suggs and more about the team effort.
"This game is bigger than all that nonsense," Suggs again. "It's 10 times bigger than cheap shots or playing with injury, not playing with an injury. This game is that important. It's so important that I would actually consider sitting out to win it.
"Like I said, I can possibly hurt my team by playing. If I'm not ready, then don't throw me out there."