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Marshal Yanda seemed tough when he played through a rib contusion that limited his breathing in the Ravens’ regular-season finale.
Tough doesn’t come close to being the appropriate description considering what he revealed Wednesday.
Yanda told reporters he had calf surgery the same night he was injured in Cleveland, on Christmas Eve. The first-time Pro Bowler started and played in Cincinnati only a week later.
“I got leg-whipped in my calf area,” Yanda said. “They had to do emergency surgery that night and slit the muscle open to release the pressure. I was dealing with that, too.
“It was a nasty scar and a [crappy] way to spend Christmas Eve, but that was the way it was. I was fighting that, too. That was really sore, and my ribs.”
The grizzled Iowa farm boy drew loads of praise from his coaches and teammates after playing Cincinnati, where he helped running back Ray Rice go for 191 yards and two touchdowns and helped push the Ravens to the AFC North division title.
“There’s not a tougher player I’ve been around in 27 years of coaching,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
“For Marshal to come back and play when we thought he was going to miss two weeks showed toughness,” quarterback Joe Flacco added. “It really makes you look at those guys in a whole different light and say, ‘Wow.’”
Yanda has recovered from the injury heading into Sunday’s divisional game against the Houston Texans, especially given an extra week off due to the first-round bye.
“It’s over with now,” Yanda said. “I got the stitches out and my leg feels good.”
In addition to Yanda, Harbaugh also gave an update on the other injured Ravens.
He said all three players who were dealing with concussions – linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Tom Zbikowski – have been cleared for contact. They all practiced fully. Only linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (thigh) was limited in practice.