Ray Lewis already has been ruled out for the regular-season finale.
The Ravens hope he can be ready for the playoffs, but that’s no guarantee.
Lewis (triceps) was injured Oct. 14 and has been working vigorously the past few weeks to get his right arm back up to speed.
"We will not look at him again for this week. We’ll look at him at the playoffs," coach John Harbaugh said. "It’s an injury that is a 12-to-16 week injury so if you do the math going back, we thought there was a chance. He is progressing really well.
"I’m not saying he couldn’t have played the last couple of weeks, but it would’ve been risky to re-injure it. The fact that there was some patience on Ray’s part and our part, it turned out well."
Lewis has a surgical scar on the elbow and the muscle has noticeable atrophy. The triceps affects the ability to push off and shed blocks, which is a necessity for playing his position.
Ideally, according to orthopedic surgeon David Geier of the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston, the surgery requires four months to heal. By waiting until the playoffs, Lewis will be at about three months.
In his 17th season, Lewis has avoided talking about his status. He has been eligible to come off the injured list since Week 15 but the Ravens haven’t activated him.
They’ll have to demote a player from the 53-man roster to make room.
“It’s hard,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to play. Nobody wants to play more than Ray, but Ray sees it for what it is and he sees the big picture.”
So it's possible that Lewis won’t play in the Ravens' home game to open the playoffs.
“There’s always a chance,” Harbaugh said. “We can’t say right now for sure.”