The Ravens could now potentially be without four of their top five linebackers when quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos come to town for a key AFC match-up Sunday.
Baltimore announced Wednesday that Jameel McClain has been ruled out because of the neck injury he suffered against the Redskins.
“Nothing major there, but he will not make it to this game, and we’re going to do some more tests and things like that just to see, down the road, where he will be,” coach John Harbaugh told reporters.
McClain ranks third on the team with 79 tackles along with three passes defended.
The loss will hurt even more if the Ravens don’t have all or some combination of linebackers Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe in action Sunday. If none can go, the team will have to turn to the likes of Brendon Ayanbadejo, Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan alongside starter Paul Kruger.
Harbaugh said it has been difficult for the Ravens to have to go so deep on the linebacker depth chart.
“It’s been tough. It’s been as many injuries as we’ve probably ever had on defense here in the last five years, and I’m really proud of the guys,” Harbaugh told reporters. “We played really well in that game. After we got our feet under us for the first two series and got a feel for the offense, they had six points up until 30 seconds left in the game. So we’ve just got to finish.
“We have confidence in whoever we put out there. We are starting to get a little healthier, so it would be good to get some of those guys back. But it’s like that for every team to some extent.”
Ellerbe (ankle), defensive tackle Arthur Jones (shoulder), fullback Vonta Leach (ankle), defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh), safety Bernard Pollard (chest) and guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) all joined McClain in missing practice Wednesday.
Tight end Ed Dickson (knee), running back Bernard Pierce (back), tailback Ray Rice (hip) and Suggs (biceps) were limited participants in practice.