OWINGS MILLS, Md. - The Baltimore Ravens haven't completely abandoned hope of having Ray Lewis back in uniform this season.
Lewis tore his right triceps in Sunday's game against Dallas and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday. Although coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the 37-year-old linebacker is out for the year, the Ravens placed Lewis on injured reserve with the "designated to return" tag.
Wednesday's move makes Lewis eligible to return in six weeks. He does not count against the 53-man roster.
"We have no idea whether that time frame has anything to do with the injury, but there's an opportunity and we're going to keep the door open," Harbaugh said. "We'll just see where that goes moving forward."
The loss of Lewis coincides with the return of linebacker Terrell Suggs, the 2011 NFL defensive player of the year. Suggs practiced Wednesday for the first time this season after missing months with a torn right Achilles tendon.
Suggs is still favouring his right leg, so the Ravens aren't expecting much from him too soon.
"To what extent, to what he's able to do, I think we should temper our expectations a little bit," Harbaugh said. "He's coming off a very serious injury. I think he's worked really hard. He's done a great job with the rehab, he's followed protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal."
To fill the void left by Lewis' removal from the roster, the Ravens activated linebacker Josh Bynes from their practice squad.
Lewis leads the Ravens in tackles and is the unquestioned leader not only of the defence, but of the entire team.
Asked who might assume the leadership role, Harbaugh replied, "You replace that with 53 guys. ... Ray is still with us. He'll be around and be a part of what we're doing."