By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun
3:29 PM EDT, September 20, 2013
After not practicing all week because of a left hip flexor strain, Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
A doubtful designation means that the player has a 25 percent of playing, though head coach John Harbaugh is not quite ready to rule out Rice.
“There’s really nothing new to report,” Harbaugh said. “If I had something different with a guy, I’d share it with you, but they are all working hard to get back. They are all kind of in the same neighborhood as far as getting back, particularly the [Chris] Cantys and Ray Rice and those guys who were injured last week. It will get a game-time decision for those guys and we’ll keep our fingers crossed although we’re prepared for it to go either way.”
Starting defensive end Chris Canty (groin), rookie reserve linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain), defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe) and wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) were also listed as doubtful for the final injury report.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) and center Ryan Jensen (foot) have been pronounced out. Cornerback Chykie Brown (knee) is questionable for the game.
Rice hasn't missed a game since his rookie season in 2008. His streak of 43 consecutive starts is the longest active streak for an NFL running back. But it appears that Bernard Pierce will make his first career start and Shaun Draughn, who was signed earlier this month, will back him up.
“No nervousness,” said Pierce. “I'm just anxious. It's just another game. You can't really get hyped up and think it's more than that. It's just another game that we have to play."
Asked if he has the mindset of a starter, Pierce said, “Not really because in my mind I was never a No. 2 back because me and Ray rotated, alternated all throughout the game. I still have the same mentality. I'm just out here to try to win."
Players who don’t practice all week usually don’t play on Sunday under Harbaugh. However, Harbaugh said all week that Rice could play whether he practices or not, and he said the same about Canty today.
“The guys that have played a lot of football here, know the offense and we’re with them every day on the inside in terms of understanding what guys know,” Harbaugh said. “When guys like that don’t play because they haven’t practiced, it’s because they are not ready physically. It’s not because we have some kind of rule around here. It has to do with how ready a guy is to play.”
For the Texans, safety Ed Reed (hip), starting left tackle Duane Brown (toe) and tight end Garrett Graham (hip/groin) are all questionable. Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who sustained a concussion in the Texans' last game, is probable.
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