Monday, September 16, 2013
Ray Rice's durability streak is on the line
By Jamison Hensley
While the Baltimore Ravens don't believe Ray Rice's hip flexor injury is serious, it still could be one that sidelines him for a game or two. At the very least, it puts the running back's durability streak in jeopardy.
Rice has started 43 straight games, the longest current streak for NFL running backs. It's been even longer since Rice hasn't played in a game. He hasn't sat out since a calf injury sidelined him for a wild card playoff game in January 2009, which was toward the end of his rookie season.
Over the years, Rice has built a reputation for being a breakaway threat and a versatile playmaker in the passing game. His toughness is often overlooked. It's been taken for granted that Rice would be ready to take the handoff every week until he went down in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 14-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. Not knowing Rice's availability is unfamiliar territory for the Ravens.
Since being named the Ravens' featured back in 2009, Rice has never missed a game. The last time the Ravens had doubts whether Rice would play was October 2010, when he was listed as questionable with a knee injury. He played that game and finished with 28 carries for 88 yards at New England.
There was a two-year period in which Rice never appeared on the injury report. Last season, he was on the injury report twice, a toe injury in November and a hip injury in December. Rice was probable in both instances and played.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh described Rice as "day to day." Harbaugh said that Rice didn't have to practice to play, but most players don't suit up Sunday for Harbaugh after sitting out all week. If Rice can't play, he'll be the third starter on the Ravens offense (tight end Dennis Pitta and wide receiver Jacoby Jones are the others) to miss a game in the first month of the season.