On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that linebacker Ray Lewis, who has missed two straight games with a toe injury, was “probably the guy that’s furthest away” from playing on Sunday among injured Ravens.
“Ray has a sprained toe, turf toe kind of thing, so those are a little more unpredictable,” Harbaugh said. “I’m hopeful. I’ve used that word before. I think he’s got a real good chance but we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Ravens legend Jonathan Ogden, whose career was shortened by a toe injury, said Lewis shouldn’t rush back.
Ogden, who is participating in a charity auction for the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, injured his toe in Week 16 of the 2006 season. He sat out the final regular season game and got an additional week of rest thanks to the team’s first-round bye. But Ogden said he took pain shots so he could start in the playoff loss to the Colts.
“I made it through the game,” he said. “But I really ended up aggravating it to death and I really never recovered.”
Lewis suffered his injury in the Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers. The 10-day span between the 49ers win and Sunday’s game in Cleveland is the main reason that Harbaugh is “hopeful” that Lewis will be healthy enough to return against the Browns.
Ogden said his recommendation for Lewis is the same he had for Ben Grubbs earlier in the season: rest, rest, rest.
“If you give it time and rest it properly, it will heal,” Ogden said. “But that’s the key: You have to rest your toe.”
The former Ravens offensive tackle, who is likely headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said that when he first heard about turf toe, his reaction was, “Give me a break.” But now he has endured it, he understands.
“I like to tell people, ‘Why don’t you just let me step on your toe real quick and see how it feels trying to walk around?’ It’s one of those things you don’t think about until you actually hurt it,” Ogden said Tuesday. “It’s hard because you are out there competing at the highest athletic level. You’re not out there doing intramurals.”