Lewis now gets extra time to let toe heal

You know how you can tell Thursday games come far too early in the week?

They haven’t even handed out the awards for the previous week’s games by the time the Thursday matchup is over.

The NFL has announced that Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Week ... for last Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

In that game, Smith caught six passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

The win over Cincinnati just seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

One guy who wasn’t able to suit up for either the Bengals game or Thursday’s 49ers game was linebacker Ray Lewis, who is still dealing with a toe injury.

In an NFL Network interview before the game Thanksgiving night, Lewis disputed reports that his injury could keep him out for the rest of the season or be career-threatening, but did say that he still is in significant pain.

Lewis said the decision to keep him out of Thursday night’s game was a joint one between himself and the coaching staff.

“Coach walked up to me and we looked at each other and he said, ‘The best thing to probably do is just sit this one out,’ ” Lewis said. “We made the decision based on (the fact that) we have a long rest period coming up after this, so it gives me a real opportunity to come back totally 100 percent.”

Lewis was asked whether the decision not to play against the 49ers was more about the pain in his toe or the risk of injuring himself further.

“I think it’s a little bit of both,” he said. “Can I play with it? Absolutely. There is a large amount of pain there, but I think it’s more importantly about the injury. Do I go and re-injure it tonight on a very short week and fight it the entire rest of the season instead of just going ahead and (getting) through this stretch right now? The team is well-prepared.”

To borrow one of Lewis’ favorite phrases, the “bottom line” is that because of the Thursday game, the 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker will have nine full days to rest and recover, instead of the usual six.

While it must have killed Lewis to sit out a primetime game against a previously 9-1 team on Thanksgiving, the linebacker and coaching staff probably made the right call having him on the sidelines that night. Now, he can focus on getting healthy and returning for the stretch run.

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