By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens entered the game against Denver a few weeks ago extremely injured. Baltimore scrambled to get enough healthy players to suit up that day. The divisional round of the playoffs will be a little different when these teams meet for a second time. Baltimore seems to have finally found their groove and come into the game the healthiest they’ve been since October.
Jah Reid placed on IR
The injury to Jah Reid is bittersweet for the Ravens organization. On one hand, Baltimore is losing a battle tested guard that has started the majority of the games this year. On the other hand, it ensures that Baltimore will keep Bryant McKinnie at LT and Michael Oher at RT. This lineup has been clamored for by fans and media for months. The move also leaves a roster spot open for Asa Jackson to return after serving a 4-game suspension for substance abuse. With Manning leading the Broncos, the Ravens can never have enough cornerbacks.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB, (ankle): Probable
Ellerbe was limited in practice all week but promised fans and the media that he would be available for Saturday’s game. His status on the injury report helped back up his claims. The talented linebacker is listed as probable and his presence will surely help boost a linebacker crops that was thinned out by injury the last time these two teams faced. In week 14, Baltimore started linebackers Josh Bynes and Brendan Ayenbadejo.
Terrell Suggs, LB/DE, (Achilles, biceps): Probable
Suggs scared a few people when he told reporters his Achilles was acting up last week. But he fully practiced all week and is fully expected to play against Denver. Suggs hasn’t been close to the player he was last season after winning Defensive Player of the Year honors. But his mere presence on the field forces the Broncos offensive line to account for him. That will give players like Kruger and McPhee opportunities to rush the passer.
Vonta Leach, FB, (knee/ankle): Probable
Leach is still nursing an injury he suffered in Week 17 against the Bengals. Since then, Leach has suffered no setbacks and played effectively against the Colts last week. Leach didn’t practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday. But he was still listed as Probable for Saturday’s game and fully expects to suit up.
Bernard Pierce, RB, (knee): Probable
Pierce suffered what appears to be a minor injury against the Colts last week. The dynamic running back practiced well all week and is listed as probable. He will be a nice compliment to Ray Rice for this game as Baltimore will need to keep the ball on the ground. Doing so will ensure Manning stays on the sideline as long as possible.
Ray Lewis, LB, (triceps): Probable
The future hall of fame linebacker suffered no setbacks from playing for the first time in less than 3 months. Lewis practiced all week and looks to be a go for what looks to be a classic match against Manning’s Broncos. Lewis joins 17 other players on the injury report who were given the Probable designation.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.