|Suggs injury is a huge blow to the Ravens, regardless of whether or not he misses the entire year. (Getty Images)|
With their defense aging and Joe Flacco's contract expiring, the Ravens are in "win now" mode, but they suffered a tremendous offseason blow on Thursday as Terrell Suggs partially tore his Achilles tendon while playing basketball.
The news began circulating early Thursday, according to multiple reports on Twitter, and Suggs confirmed the partial tear via text to Aaron Wilson of the Cook County Times.
"We do a conditioning test every year, and I was practicing it," Suggs said in a text to Wilson. "I went to stop and turn and I thought I sprained it. Went to doc and said it's a partial tear."
Suggs injury is a huge, huge, huge blow to the Ravens -- Suggs was the premier defensive player on a dominant defensive unit last year. And according to Wilson, Suggs won't be able to play during the 2012 season. However, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Suggs believes he can return by October, which would be a stunningly fast recovery from such an injury.
That could be part of a Ravens PR spin though: league sources tell CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that while the Ravens are remaining publicly hopeful, behind closed doors they're not counting on having him for the 2012 season.
“We are in contact with Terrell," the Ravens said in a statement from the team. "He will see a specialist early next week, and we'll know more at that time.”
Suggs was more enthusiastic in texting with Wilson, though.
"Absolutely," Suggs said when asked if he'd play in 2012. "Middle to end of October. Definitely beginning of November."
The outside linebacker had a career high in sacks with 14 and a career high in forced fumbles with seven. He had the best season of his career and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award as a result in 2011.
He's arguably the most important player on Baltimore's roster -- losing Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and really anyone but maybe Haloti Ngata would be easier.
"Yall kno i strongly dislike the ravens, but i hate hearing about an injury like the suggs 1," Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley tweeted on Thursday. "Wishing him a fast recovery."
The one saving grace to this is that the Ravens used their first-overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft on Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw won't replace Suggs' production, but he's likely to become a better replacement than someone who came in off the street.
"I keep getn these 'it's time to man up' tweets...I mean it's the NFL...with T. Sizzle healthy I wud have to man up its big boy ball," Upshaw tweeted on Thursday.
Upshaw, Sergio Kindle (Ravens first-round pick in 2010) and Pernell McPhee (fifth-round pick in 2011) will be charged with attempting to replace Suggs production. McPhee, who had six sacks and one forced fumble in 2011, is the sneaky pick to step in for Suggs.
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