First, it was linebacker Terrell Suggs coming back earlier than anticipated.
Now that the Ravens have settled down on defense without him, linebacker Ray Lewis probably is coming back quicker than anticipated, too.
"I think he will. That’s the best guess," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "He’s working hard to do that. We’ll see."
Lewis was put on injured reserve but there’s a new rule that began for the 2012 that allows teams to activate one player from that list. Lewis would be eligible to practice later this week at the earliest and could be back in uniform before the regular season ends.
Lewis, a 17th-year linebacker, tore his triceps in the fourth quarter of an Oct. 14 game vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
The Ravens had been in dire straits on defense. During a three-game stretch with Lewis, they were allowing 207 yards rushing per game.
Suggs, who tore his Achilles during the offseason and was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to start the season that required him to miss at least the first six weeks, made a surprising return for Week 7.
With Jameel McClain filling Lewis’ role in the middle, the defense has allowed less than 100 yards rushing in two of their last three games and had improved to 25th in overall. They were No. 2 in the NFL last season.
"We’ll have to test it and see if it can hold up," Harbaugh said of Lewis’ arm. "Really don’t know where it’s at now. Ray has been in rehab mode. He hasn’t been here from a football standpoint in terms of us seeing any of that yet. Just talking to Ray it sounds like things have gone well. There have been no setbacks. So there’s a possibility."