Ray Lewis wants to get back on the field. You can see it.
He's downright giddy on the sidelines, animated and constantly in the faces of his teammates, coaching and advising after every defensive series.
You can tell it pains Lewis to be restricted to the sideline, even more so than the pain stemming from the injury to his toe, the injury that, ironically, is the reason he's on the sideline in the first place. Lewis wants to play. The fans want him to play. So when is it going to happen?
According to reports in The Baltimore Sun, Lewis is still a week or so from returning, as a team source indicated Monday that Lewis will aim to be back in the starting lineup for the Ravens' game against the Chargers on Dec. 18. In fact, the source also said Lewis could've played last Sunday against Cleveland and could play this Sunday when the Ravens host the Colts, but the team is advising that Lewis give it one more week before returning to action.
"He's doing quite well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters at his press conference Monday. "He's resting. He was bouncing around the field yesterday before the game, did you notice? So, you saw what I saw. We are hopeful. I would love to give you a definitive answer, and I understand what you're saying, all the arguments. We are going to try to win the game against the Colts. That's going to be our challenge.
"We want to go in there full strength. Obviously, a healthy Ray Lewis, playing at the caliber he's capable of playing at, helps us beat the Colts. Is he going to be ready to do that? We don't know. He says he's going to be ready to do it. He's got some orthotics that may give him a chance to be able to do that. So, we'll just have to see how that goes this week, and we've been trying the last couple of weeks. We have, probably, been somewhat cautious. We want to make sure that he doesn't re-injure it. So, we'll just have to see how it goes again this week."
Lewis has missed the Ravens' last three games with turf toe, marking the first time the linebacker has been out of the starting lineup since 2007. An insert has been placed in Lewis' shoe and Lewis also reportedly participated in the team's pregame drills prior to Sunday's game against the Browns and had no issues.
Fortunately for the Ravens, the absence of Lewis hasn't hurt the defense at all. Reserve linebacker Dannell Ellerbe filled in for Lewis and recorded seven tackles in the win over Cleveland.