Before he injured his right ankle against the San Diego Chargers, inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was emerging as one of the Ravens' top defensive playmakers.
He had recorded 78 tackles and racked up 4 1/2 sacks as the Ravens' best inside blitzer.
After missing two consecutive games, Ellerbe predicted there's a better chance he returns this week for a pivotal home game against the Denver Broncos. However, he's not regarded as a lock to return this week and it's considered more of a sure thing that he'll be back healthy for the following week against the New York Giants.
"Yeah, man, I'm getting better," Ellerbe told The Baltimore Sun. "I feel like I progressed this week. I thought I would be back earlier, but it's longer than I thought it would. I'm always hopeful, but there's going to be a better chance this week because of the time and it's been two weeks."
Inside linebacker depth has been thinned considerably because of injuries to Ellerbe, middle linebackers Ray Lewis (torn right triceps) and Jameel McClain (neck).
Ellerbe has been plagued by injuries, including a left foot problem that's not as serious as the ankle, a broken thumb and a sprained thumb.
"They need me out there making plays," Ellerbe said. "They don't need me out there gimpy."