ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the most realistic return for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is early November. Suggs is rehabbing from April surgery for a partially torn Achilles tendon.
What I find curious about the report is that sources say Suggs hopes to be ready for the Oct. 21 game against Houston. But coach John Harbaugh wants to delay the return one more week so the NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be in top form for the playoffs in January.
While you want to applaud Harbaugh for not rushing back Suggs, the Ravens' game against the Texans (4-0) could have tiebreaker implications down the road for the No. 1 seed or a first-round bye. Because of the big-picture ramifications, that game at Houston could be Baltimore's biggest non-division game left on the schedule. The Ravens (3-1) obviously would have a better shot at beating Houston with Suggs running after quarterback Matt Schaub.
The Ravens placed Suggs on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the season, meaning he was ineligible for Baltimore's first six games of the season. The first game he could suit up for is the one at the Texans. If Suggs is ready, he will push to play in that game.
Despite a fast start, the Ravens have missed Suggs on defense. Baltimore is giving up 296 yards passing, the fourth-worst in the NFL. Suggs led the AFC last season with 14 sacks, and the Ravens have only sacked the quarterback nine times.
The timetable for Suggs has been a closely guarded secret with the Ravens. In early June, Suggs said he would return by the end of November at the latest. Suggs then was noncommittal on that timetable a few weeks later, saying, "Maybe we were shooting too far, but you never know."
In late September, Harbaugh said Suggs would return this season but he said he didn't have a timetable. Since injuring his Achilles in April, Suggs has remained firm that he would play in 2012.
If Suggs comes back in early November, the Ravens will have Suggs in the lineup for their two games against division rival Pittsburgh (Nov. 18 and Dec. 2).