Who’s Playing, Who’s Not vs. Texans

Lee Evans, Chris Carr and Jimmy Smith are all ruled out for the Texans matchup.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 6 vs Texans

The bye came and went and the Ravens will still have to wait for several injured players to return.

Wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (ankle) and Chris Carr (thigh), and safety Tom Zbikowski (head) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Evans’ injury has lingered since the preseason. He played in the Ravens’ first two games but was shut down to give his ankle a chance to fully heal. That hasn’t happened yet nearly a month later.

“We thought it would be fine by now, and it’s just going a lot slower than we thought,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

“We say we’re day-to-day on it, but you know, he hasn’t practiced. … He’s going to need some practice. It’s been very disappointing; no one’s been more surprised than all of us. But, [we'll] just wait and see if the doctors can figure it out. He has to keep working on it.”

Carr’s hamstring injury has also been a persistent issue. He played against the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams, but hasn’t practiced since Sept. 29.

“It’s frustrating because up until this year I haven’t missed a game before,” Carr said. “Once I come back now, I’m coming back and I’m going to stay back. There’s going to be no indecision. Once I come back, I’m going to be 100 percent because I can’t go through this any longer.”

Smith hasn’t practiced yet since suffering a high ankle sprain on the opening kickoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was doing light jogging during the portion of practice open to the media this week. Harbaugh preached patience for his return.

Harbaugh said on Monday that Zbikowski had not yet been cleared by a doctor following his concussion suffered in the Jets game.

Grubbs Is Again Questionable

Ravens guard Ben Grubbs (toe) will once again be a question mark heading into Sunday. He is listed as questionable for the third straight week.

The Ravens’ starting left guard was making progress, as he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, but suffered a setback of sorts yesterday when his toe was stepped on in practice, Harbaugh said.

“[The toe] was a little bruised today, so we decided not to take a chance today,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have to see on Sunday, before the game, how he’s moving.”

If Grubbs can’t play, the Ravens would likely again turn to Andre Gurode, who has played well in his place the past two games.

The Good News

It looks like the Ravens will at least get a few of their injured players back, and they’ll make a sizable difference.

Safety Haruki Nakamura (knee), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (thigh) and wide receiver David Reed (shoulder) are all listed as probable.

Nakamura made a speedy recovery after injuring his knee in the Sept. 25 game against the St. Louis Rams. His return would certainly bolster a secondary in need of help, especially with Zbikowski out. Nakamura has the flexibility to play safety or cornerback.

Ellerbe’s return helps the linebackers and adds another key piece back to the kickoff coverage team, which surrendered a touchdown return to the New York Jets without him.

Reed’s comeback would also help on special teams, where he could assume his kickoff returner role. Reed had a 77-yard kickoff return against the Tennessee Titans in his only game this year. He’ll also help in the wide receiver corps with Evans sidelined.

Johnson Finally Ruled Out; Schaub Is Probable

The smokescreens are over and wide receiver Andre Johnson has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Harbaugh said Baltimore had a contingency plan just in case the Pro Bowler played, but that can now be discarded.

Texans starting fullback James Casey (chest) is listed as doubtful, and outside linebacker Mario Williams (pectoral) was placed on injured reserve this week, so he’s out.

Houston has a whopping 19 players listed as probable. That makes 21 on the full final injury report, showing just how banged up the Texans are.

Running back Arian Foster (quad), linebacker DeMeco Ryans (elbow/hamstring/knee) and quarterback Matt Schaub (shoulder) headline the probables list. Schaub, who took some big hits in Houston’s game versus Oakland, didn’t practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday.

“They beat him up pretty good,” Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a tough kid; he’s a great competitor. … He’s going to be there.”

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