For the second straight week, a Ravens player has gotten hurt on a special teams play on what he felt like was a cheap-shot.
During the Ravens’ game against the Rams two weeks ago, wide receiver David Reed said he was hit late by a Titans player, causing him to injure his left shoulder.
On Sunday, safety Haruki Nakamura had to be helped off the field after suffering a PCL injury on punt coverage late in the first quarter. Nakamura said he was knocked to the ground by Rams rookie tight end Lance Kendricks, and according to the Ravens’ safety, the hit was unnecessary and happened well away from the play.
“(The knee) really doesn’t bother me that much,” Nakamura said, commenting that he hasn’t experienced much pain. “It’s more of a frustrating injury because it was something that didn’t even need to happen. Part of a cheap shot play that had nothing to do with the play. We were 40 yards downfield, the guy pushed me in my back, and my knee slammed on the turf. I can deal with injuries, but I can’t deal with ignorance. When it has nothing to do with the play, it’s really frustrating.”
Nakamura said he initially feared the worst and thought he might be out long-term, because he hadn’t felt that much pain before. The four-year veteran said he had no strength in the right knee after the play, and “it was all wobbly”.
The circumstances surrounding the injury notwithstanding, Nakamura feels that he will be able to return much sooner than he might have initially imagined.
Head coach John Harbaugh has estimated that Nakamura could miss around a month with the PCL injury, but the safety says he’s targeting a Week 6 return - a week after the Ravens’ bye.
“I’ve already made a ton of progress and they know I’m going to make a ton of progress because they know I’m a hard worker and I’m not just going to be sitting around trying to let it heal by itself,” Nakamura said. “I’m going to do all the little things that I can. As of right now, we’re kind of scheduling for me to come back right after the bye week. It’s just one of those things that time will tell, but we’re just shooting for right after the bye week.”
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Rams, said he’s feeling a little better, but he did not practice today. The third-year man out of Georgia is uncertain about his status for Sunday.
“It just grabbed on me,” Ellerbe said. “I don’t know yet if I’m playing. I’m day to day. It’s a feeling I’m not used to. I tried to wrap it up and go. I think I’ll more than likely be a game-time decision. We’ll know later on in the week.”