How banged up are the Ravens at this point?
Banged up enough that every single healthy player on the 53-man roster had to suit up for last Sunday's game against the Jets. Teams are forced to dress 46 players and name seven inactives on gamedays; all seven of those who the Ravens deactivated Sunday night were held out because of injuries.
And that was going into the Jets game. Coming out of it, they have another injury issue to deal with, as safety Tom Zbikowski had to leave the Sunday night contest with a concussion.
The Ravens are hurting right now, but luckily, they've still got nine more days to nurse their ailing players back to health before next weekend's game against the Texans. That extra time will be crucial, and at least at first glance, it appears a number of the Ravens' walking wounded are on track to return for the Houston game.
Here's the latest on the eight Ravens who are nursing various injuries:
Lee Evans, WR
Injury: Left ankle
Status: Evans has now missed the last two games because of an ankle injury which has been plaguing him since late in the preseason. The injury has taken longer than expected to heal, but Evans said last week that he is "shooting for the Texans, no doubt". Evans appears optimistic about his status, but if it turns out that three full weeks of rest aren't enough to get the wide receiver back near full strength, this could be a serious issue for both the player and the team.
Ben Grubbs, G
Status: While Evans has missed two straight games, Grubbs can top him. The Ravens' starting left guard has sat out three contests in a row. Grubbs was listed as questionable for last Sunday's game, but told me afterward that he wasn't close to playing. He says swelling in the injured toe is down, but now he needs to get to the point that he can put full weight on the affected foot and drive off the ball. The Ravens have to hope this injury doesn't end up being similar to the type of toe issue which plagued former Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden so greatly toward the end of his career.
Jimmy Smith, CB
Injury: High left ankle sprain
Status: Smith has ditched the walking boot that he was sporting for a couple weeks and said last week that he had just started doing some light jogging. The Ravens expected the high ankle sprain to keep Smith out for "a few weeks"; the Texans game would mark five weeks since the first-round cornerback suffered the injury. He has said he hopes to be back against Houston, but the Ravens will take things slow if Smith needs more time.
Chris Carr, CB
Status: It initially appeared that Carr had finally put a nagging hamstring injury behind him, as he played a large portion of the Ravens' Week 3 game against the Rams and didn't feel any ill effects afterwards. Then came a setback late last week which held Carr out of the Jets game. The severity of the setback is unclear, but Carr could certainly use this extra time off to try and get right physically.
Tom Zbikowski, S
Status: Head coach John Harbaugh didn't have an update on Zbikowski's status when reporters spoke with him Monday, so it's uncertain what type of effects Zbikowski is suffering after leaving last Sunday's game with a concussion. Obviously, concussions can dissipate quickly, or they can affect an athlete for weeks, so we'll just have to see how the Ravens' starting strong safety recovers during the time off.
Haruki Nakamura, S
Injury: Right knee
Status: When Nakamura went down in the first quarter of the Rams game two weeks ago, it looked like he might be out for quite a while. Instead of a torn ACL or MCL, however, the versatile safety just suffered an injury to the PCL in his knee, and was up and walking around fine last week. Nakamura is known to rehab incredibly diligently from his injuries, and it would not be surprising to see him back on the field next Sunday against Houston.
David Reed, WR/KR
Injury: Left shoulder
Status: Reed just can't seem to stay healthy since reaching the NFL. He suffered a concussion and a wrist injury in his rookie season last year, and then missed part of training camp as he recovered from offseason surgery on the wrist. Back in Week 2 - his first game action of the season - Reed suffered a shoulder injury, and he's been out since. The Ravens had said the wide receiver/kickoff returner would miss around three weeks, and next Sunday will mark a full month since that diagnosis. We'll see if Reed is out there running back kickoffs against Houston.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB
Status: After suffering the hamstring injury back in Week 3, Ellerbe didn't practice last week or play against the Jets. The third-year inside linebacker is expected to be good to go against the Texans, however. Three weeks should be more than enough time for Ellerbe to recover from what he seemed to feel was a minor hamstring issue.