Of all the Ravens players who will benefit from the bye week, perhaps no one can use the rest more than right guard Marshal Yanda.
Yanda showed his toughness playing through painful rib and thigh bruises in Sunday's win over Cincinnati, and his reward for that effort will be some time off this week to rest and allow his body to recover.
"It will be huge," Yanda said of the bye week. "Get that extra week of recovery, and that's just money to heal and be ready to play whoever we play next Sunday."
After suffering the rib and thigh injuries in the Ravens' Week 16 win over the Browns, Yanda missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday last week, but to many teammates' surprise, he returned to practice on Friday and then toughed it out on Sunday against the Bengals.
Never one to flaunt his toughness or rave about his ability to play through pain, Yanda admitted that he struggled with the rib injury at times during the Cincinnati game.
"It was tough, but once I got the blood flowing, I felt pretty decent out there," Yanda said. "I felt like I could still play at a pretty high level and that was the most important thing. It was all good until that last long run in the fourth quarter (when) I landed on my ribs again. That was the worst one, but the best part was that happened so late in the game that I could play pretty decent until that play."
"There is no one tougher than Marshal," head coach John Harbaugh said a day after the Bengals game. "That is a reflection of our whole team. He optimizes that, certainly. He explains it better than anybody. He won't tell you too much about it, but for him to say he could barely breathe and play the way he did, obviously it was huge for us. He is an anchor on our offensive line, and when he is in there, we're a lot better."
After getting the day off today, Yanda said he plans to sit out tomorrow's practice, as well. The Ravens' hope is that if Yanda doesn't have to really give it a full go until full practices resume the middle of next week, he'll feel like he can play at his usual high level.
Asked what he learned about himself after battling through the injuries on Sunday, Yanda paused for a brief second to give the question some thought.
"You want to try and play through the pain and stuff, but just that I'm a quick healer and to be able to get back out there and feel good enough to play and play at a high level, that was the most important thing," Yanda said. "If I couldn't play at a high level, I wasn't going to play, obviously. Don't want to hurt the team in any way. It was a good feeling to get that win and be a part of it."
One other quick side note: Harbaugh said that none of the three players battling concussions (linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, safety Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Jimmy Smith) have been cleared for contact as of yet, but all are making "good progress."