(AP) — A little more than nine months ago, major contributions from Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb helped the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Houston Texans in the divisional playoffs.
Neither, though, will have any impact on Sunday’s rematch between the AFC’s top teams in the Lone Star State.
Lewis recorded a team-high seven tackles and Webb intercepted two passes as Baltimore beat Houston 20-13 on Jan. 15 to advance to the conference championship game.
The Ravens’ defense will look much different in this contest, however, after Lewis (torn right triceps) and Webb (torn left ACL) both suffered serious injuries in last week’s 31-29 win over Dallas.
Baltimore (5-1) also has been without reigning defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs as he recovers from a right ACL tear suffered in the offseason. Suggs was removed from the physically unable to perform list and practiced for the first time Wednesday, though he’s not expected to return until mid-November.
“I’m disappointed for those guys,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t matter how I or someone else feels about it. It’s their thing. These are guys that put so much effort, heart and soul into what they do.”
While Webb, who missed time in 2009 with a torn right ACL, likely will recover and return next season, the future isn’t as certain for the 37-year-old Lewis. With an enshrinement in Canton awaiting, the aging linebacker will have to decide if he plans to pursue another Super Bowl title next season.
Lewis was put on injured reserve Wednesday, though Baltimore placed a “designated to return” tag on him in case he’s able to play.
It doesn’t seem likely, however.