Ravens RB Bernard Pierce won't be available until training camp

Bernard Pierce underwent offseason shoulder surgery. (USATSI)
Bernard Pierce underwent offseason shoulder surgery. (USATSI)

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While the Ravens are ready to welcome back running back Ray Rice, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault earlier this month and who likely won't face a trial or any jail time, it's unclear if the NFL will try to suspend him for his off-field actions.

If the NFL does find the need to punish Rice for his alleged physical encounter with his then-fiancee and now-wife, Baltimore will have to count on Bernard Pierce, the team's backup who has combined for 968 rushing yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league.

Except Pierce had rotator cuff surgery in the offseason, and he won't be available for OTAs and minicamp. Instead, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Saturday that Pierce should be ready to go by training camp.

“He’s been allowed to move around a little bit, but we just can’t risk him falling on it right now and having a setback,” Harbaugh said, via the team's official website. “So, you’re probably looking at training camp for him, which shouldn’t be an issue as long as you don’t get a setback.”

If Pierce's recovery hits a snag and Rice is unavailable, the Ravens would have Lorenzo Taliaferro, who Baltimore drafted in the fourth round last weekend, along with Justin Forsett and Cierre Wood. Perhaps it's not time for Ravens fans to worry about their running back corps, but this kind of news isn't all that optimistic either.

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