When Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice had suffered a significant knee bruise during the recent win over the Browns, it sure seemed unlikely that Rice would be able to play this upcoming weekend against the Steelers.
Three days later, Rice says he expects to suit up against Pittsburgh after all.
Talking to reporters for the first time since suffering the injury on Sunday, Rice said the knee has responded well and he will return to practice this afternoon after sitting out yesterday's session.
"I feel great," Rice said. "We have a great corps of backs, but I'm sure I'll be ready to play."
Rice said he suffered the injury when he planted his right leg wrong during the fourth quarter Sunday's game against Cleveland. He felt pain in the knee and was initially worried that it would be a serious injury, but was relieved when the doctors gave him the good news.
"Like night and day," Rice said. "Once you hear the good news of nothing being torn and it's just a bruise, I felt great. It's just getting better each day. I'm just going out there working because I know it's just a bruise. I got a second opinion, got everything I needed to do, and once you find out it's just a bruise, you've got new life again.
"At the end of the day, Sunday's the ultimate test. That decision will be up to coach. They'll see how I look in practice, but right now, I'm feeling great."
Rice said he doesn't plan to wear any type of brace on the knee because it will limit him.
Asked if he expects the Steelers to target the injured knee at all, Rice said he doesn't expect that to be an issue.
"I don't think they're dirty," Rice said. "I don't think anyone has the intent to go out there and hurt anybody. Obviously, they go out there, they're going to play the game. We've got respect for them, they have respect for us. But I don't think it's going to be one of those situation where they're going to be taking blatant shots at the knee."