Will Terrell Suggs play Sunday vs. the Houston Texans?
Despite varying reports that he could, the logical answer for a franchise that's not prone to panicking or making short-term, knee-jerk decisions -- don't count on it.
The linebacker has yet to be activated by the Ravens though he has been designated to practice from the physically-unable-to-perform list for the first time since tearing his Achilles.
With Baltimore entering a bye week after Sunday it wouldn't make much sense to rush him back. And why activate Suggs now if he's not able to play significant snaps when the defense already has been depleted by season-ending injuries to linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb, knee strains with two starting tackles (Haloti Ngata and Ma'ake Kemoeatu), cornerback Jimmy Smith limited by a groin strain, safety Bernard Pollard possibly still bothered by injured ribs from Week 2 and safety Ed Reed complaining about a cartilage tear in his shoulder.
"If I knew I wouldn't tell you," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday when asked about Suggs' status. "He's done a really good job. This is a very serious injury (and) he's worked really hard. … We've practiced him all week. We aren't too interested in (Houston) knowing one way or the other."
Reed, who hasn't been listed on any injury reports for his shoulder, revealed this week that he has a torn labrum.
"We have probably 25 or 30 guys that have things like that -- things they can play through that don't cost any time, practice-wise or game-wise," Harbaugh said. "What he's talking about are the things that all these guys have. There are always a lot of bumps and bruises and nicks and tears, if you will, that guys have to deal with."
The rule of thumb is when a player is rebounding from a major injury and insists that he's ready to get back on the field, hold him out at least another two weeks on general principle. Players will always push the limits of their bodies against their own better judgment.
Suggs doesn't appear to be in ideal game shape yet. Couple that with the lateral movement and explosions that will be required to play in a game of this magnitude vs. the Texans, would the reward (one regular season win) be worth the risk (losing Suggs for the season)? At worst, the Ravens would be 5-2 and still in control of the AFC North going into Week 9 at the Cleveland Browns.
The Ravens are a franchise that stays the course. Look at the case of Ray Rice, who is only getting 16 carries per game. Despite occasional criticism they aren't giving him the ball enough, the Ravens aren't diverting from the script because they not only want to preserve him for the playoffs but coaches have reiterated they're thinking long-term since re-signing the 5-foot-8 running back to a five-year, $40 million deal coming into the season.
So again, why would a francishe this practical play Suggs on Sunday? It's just not in its personality.