It is AFC Championship week and for the Baltimore Ravens fans it is the third time in the last five years that they have been able to look forward to watching their team in the spotlight. Baltimore was a very injured team during the regular season, but have gotten healthy at the right time as this team has been as healthy as it has been all season in the playoffs and this week is no different.
Although Baltimore has listed a robust 21 players on the injury report this week, only one did not practice:
- Full Participants – WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder), CB Chykie Brown (shoulder), DT Terrence Cody (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle/back), DT Arthur Jones (thigh/knee), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal), WR Torrey Smith (back), LB Terrell Suggs (achilles/bicep), and G Marshal Yanda (shoulder).
- Limited Participants – RB Anthony Allen (head), G Gino Gradkowski (head), RB Bernard Pierce (knee), and WR David Reed (thigh).
- Did not Practice – CB Asa Jackson (thigh).
Pierce was the biggest question mark following the Broncos game as he was held to just 14 yards on five carries before leaving the game with a knee injury, but his limited participation yesterday, and his comments let Ravens fan exhale as he will be ready to go on Sunday. Bernard stated twice yesterday that he will be playing on Sunday, which is good news as the two headed rushing attack of Pierce and Ray Rice have been instrumental in this Baltimore playoff run.
Asa Jackson's availability is still a question mark and we should learn more as the week goes on, but Baltimore is extremely healthy right now, and as I mentioned before it is probably the most healthy this team has been all season and the timing couldn't be more perfect.
Of course the big news for the Patriots on the injury front is that they will be without All-World TE Rob Gronkowski for the remainder of the season, but as New England always proves, they will not miss a beat when replacing an injured player.
Baltimore will look to avenge last year's 23-20 loss in the AFC Championship to the same New England Patriots and try to extend Ray Lewis's last ride one more game, and have it conclude with the Super Bowl. A story book ending is still in the cards for Lewis, but Baltimore will have to take down "the machine" in the Patriots, but will get to do so with a very healthy team.
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