The Ravens defense is absolutely reeling right now: Adding insult to injury, it has given up back-to-back 200-yard rushing games and both legendary linebacker Ray Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb are out for the remainder of the season. (Quick aside: the Webb loss is WAY bigger for the Ravens than Lewis, no matter what the headlines say.)
So here's some good news: Terrell Suggs is coming back! Well, to practice anyway.
Terrell Suggs will practice today, meaning he's coming off the PUP list.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 17, 2012
Suggs is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered in the offseason, and the timing really couldn't be better. The Ravens are struggling mightily on defense and Suggs, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is the definition of a difference-maker.
There are two concerns with his return, though. One, we don't know how much of an impact he'll have on the Ravens rushing defense. Suggs is primarily a pass rusher, and if the Ravens aren't stopping people from running the ball, his impact could be limited (if only because opponents are going to try to run the ball 50-plus times against Baltimore). And two, Suggs' effectiveness could be limited given that he's coming back from an Achilles injury, which traditionally saps a player's explosiveness.
In other injury news, the Ravens officially placed Lewis on injured reserve Wednesday, although they did so with the "designated for return" label. Lewis will have surgery on his triceps Wednesday and coach John Harbaugh said the special IR exemption was used in the hopes Lewis might return later in the season.
"We're going to keep the door open," Harbaugh said Wednesday.
It's a long shot, of course, but it's possible that Lewis could recover from the triceps injury in time to make an impact late in the season. At the very least, it will keep Lewis from facing the issue of retirement immediately.
For Suggs, expecting him to play as early as Week 7 against the Texans seems like a stretch. Baltimore's got its bye in Week 8 and the Browns and Raiders immediately after that, so there's certainly some leeway in terms of how the Ravens want to bring Suggs along.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.