Less than 24 hours after their most exciting win of the season -- the 16-13 overtime victory over San Diego highlighted by Ray Rice’s electrifying (and game-saving) 30-yard catch-and-run in the waning moments of the fourth quarter -- there seems to be more good news radiating from the Under Armour Performance Center.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Ray Lewis is recovering so well from his torn right triceps he could be back on the field as early as the Ravens’ Dec. 16 game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
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There’s no under-stating how much the Ravens feed off the intensity of their 37-year-old future Hall of Fame linebacker.
Did you see him cheering wildly on the sideline all game long yesterday, even when the Ravens’ offense was in that awful funk in the first half?
Did you see how fired up he was when the team finally started playing well in the second half and the defense made a number of heroic stands with the game on the line?
As each defensive player left the field, the CBS cameras captured him getting an arm-lock or a high-five or a fist bump from the Ravens’ emotional and spiritual leader. (Paul Kruger got a head-rattling smack on the helmet and beamed like he’d just hit the Lotto jackpot.)
Now multiply that excitement and focus ten-fold and you have a sense of what it’s like for the rest of the Ravens to have No. 52 stomping and snorting and battling on the field alongside them.
Maybe Lewis is trying to show that Terrell Suggs isn’t the only Raven who can make a seemingly miraculous return from a devastating injury weeks ahead of schedule.
It’s no surprise the man would throw himself into rehabbing his injury with all the fury and dedication he’s brought to the middle linebacker position for 17 seasons.
And maybe the fact he’s embraced alternative medical techniques – a hyperbaric chamber and platelet-rich plasma therapy, to name two – has helped speed his recovery, too.
Whatever the case, the Ravens have to be thrilled to hear Lewis could be back soon. His pre-game speech to the team before Sunday’s game – heavy on hope, faith and love, John Harbaugh said -- was thought by some to rank with his all-time best.
But nothing beats having No. 52 on the field -- even if, physically, he’s not the player he once was.
As the Ravens head into the playoffs, they’ll take any version of Ray Lewis they can get – every time.