Joe Flacco hasn’t missed a game since entering the NFL in 2008, and it looks like that consecutive-games streak will continue even after the hit he took Monday.
Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy struck the Ravens quarterback in the left knee, bending it awkwardly inward when attempting a diving hit in the fourth quarter.
Flacco was examined on the sidelines, but stayed in the game, and was able to practice Wednesday in a limited capacity with a new addition to his uniform. Flacco will be wearing a brace on that left knee starting Sunday against the Patriots.
“It’s uncomfortable a little bit, but if it protects it, it’s all good with me,” Flacco said. “The brace isn’t a big deal. It just is what it is. Hopefully it will prevent anything really crazy from happening if I happened to get hit on it again. ...
“I don’t know if it will be a necessity or not, but I’m going to wear it. There’s no reason not to.”
Flacco wore a knee brace on the same leg when he sprained his MCL as a junior at Delaware.
Considering the fact that Flacco was being examined by medical staff and backup Tyrod Taylor was warming up after the blow, this one could be deemed a close call for the durable 28-year-old. Flacco admitted he was a little concerned, but not for long.
“It was a little scary because I felt something obviously when I got hit down there,” Flacco recalled. “Then (Ray) Rice came over and wanted me to get up, but he didn’t really help me. I wasn’t really ready to get up yet because I didn’t want to get up and test it out and have myself collapse to the ground and look like an idiot.
“It’s always scary when you get your knee (hit). I’ve never really had a severe knee injury or anything, so you don’t know what is what. If you feel something, you definitely get a little scared. ...
“Once I got up and put a little pressure on it, I was able to run off the field and all that. You’ve got to feel pretty good about that. My mind was at ease as soon as I got up, so that wasn’t really an issue.”
Two days after the game, Flacco sees the knee progressing.
“It’s pretty stiff. It’s feeling better, though, today,” he said. “It looks like it’s getting better and better doing stuff this morning and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s getting better.”
If the injury had been worse, Sunday might have marked the first game Flacco would miss in six pro seasons. He has played in every Ravens game since he was drafted - 94 in the regular season and 13 in the playoffs.
That ability to stay on the field and remain healthy is a point of pride for Flacco.
“There’s no doubt. That’s one of the first things you think about when you get hit there and go down,” he said. “You’re like, ‘Shoot, I better not be able to not be able to play.’ So yeah, definitely I’m very proud of that. Hey listen, at some point it may happen that I can’t go out there to start a football game, but I’d prefer that I hold that off for a while.”
Flacco said he’s been told it isn’t an injury that should require further attention after the season and is expected to heal with rest.
John Harbaugh acknowledged it was perhaps the closest call he’s seen for Flacco, and the Ravens coach described his reaction.
“I remember a few shots that he’s taken lower body. I don’t think I remember him taking one that bad,” Harbaugh said. “... I did wince. I winced when I saw it on the board up there. I tried to talk to the referee about it and explain to him what happened. I wasn’t sure if he saw it. He said he did. He didn’t tell me if he winced or not. I think he did. But I winced when I saw it on tape again this morning. It was a pretty tough hit.”
There was no call on the play, even though there should’ve been a 15-yard infraction for a low blow. Harbaugh shared what he was told by officials and by the league since.
“I got an explanation on the field. I got a different one from the league office this morning,” he said. “But they’re going to send it up for discipline. We’ll just have to see what the league does with it then.”
Wideout Torrey Smith is glad the result of the hit wasn’t worse.
“I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw a replay of it,” Smith said. “I mean, you always worry, but he got right back up which is the most important thing. Joe’s a tough guy.”
Note: Tight end Dallas Clark (illness), cornerback Asa Jackson (thigh), linebacker Albert McClellan (neck) and tailback Ray Rice (thigh) did not practice Wednesday. Safety Brynden Trawick (ankle) was able to practice fully.