By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens will be playing an elimination game in Week 17 in its cruelest form. For even if Baltimore wins on Sunday, they aren’t guaranteed a playoff berth. But for the Ravens to take down the division champs, they’ll need to be at their very best. And with many of their players banged up, that may not be possible.
Arthur Jones, who’s been one of the pleasant surprises for this Ravens defense is dealing with a concussion that has kept him out of practice the entire week. The NFL’s concussion protocol has yet to be passed by the defensive lineman which leaves his status for Sunday in doubt. Facing off against one of the most potent offenses in the league, Baltimore will need a player who Harbaugh is very high on.
“He’s a guy that just comes to work every day,” stated Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “He busts his rear to be the best he can be every day – he’s done that from the first day,”
It looks to be a game-time decision for Jones. But if he’s unable to pass the concussion protocol, he will not play against the Bengals. If he’s unable to go, the Ravens will most likely lean on Deangelo Tyson and rookie DT Brandon Williams to pick up some of the slack. Lucky for Baltimore, they seem to be loaded with talent at this position.
The same can’t be said for the running back position as Ray Rice has dealt with nagging injuries the entire year. Baltimore isn’t linking his current thigh injury to the hip injury he suffered back in Week 2, but it is severe enough that they’ve elected to limit his reps in practice this week. Rice has dealt with this thigh injury for a 2 weeks and has yet to miss anytime. Though he’s listed as questionable for the game on Sunday, expect him to play against the Bengals.
Torrey Smith’s status for Sunday may be a little less uncertain. He’s another player who’s dealing with a thigh injury that has been forced to miss some time in practice. Smith has been the model of consistency in that he’s yet to miss a game in his 3 year career. But thigh injuries can be very difficult to gauge, especially for a wide-receiver. The Ravens aren’t loaded at this position, and will be very limited in their approach on offense without their big time playmaker at wide receiver. He’ll be a game time decision for Sunday.
Elvis Dumervil, who has dealt with an ankle injury for a few weeks has found a way to make it on the field on game-day. While he’s not 100%, it would be a big surprise if he didn’t suit up for Sunday’s regular season finale.
Baltimore Ravens Injury Report
CB Asa Jackson (thigh)
LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle) G Gino Gradkowski (knee) DT Arthur Jones (concussion) RB Ray Rice (thigh) WR Torrey Smith (thigh)
PROBABLE LB Albert McClellan (neck)
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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. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.