Suggs Sidelined

3 05 2012

Just like that, one of the top defenses in the league received an unexpected blow to the gut, and the New Orleans Saints weren’t the culprit that delivered the hit.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker and reigning Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols Thursday that he partially tore his Achilles tendon while running a conditioning drill in Arizona.

Suggs plans on having surgery next week. Recovery time usually lasts four to six months while the average player returns to the field in 11 months.

Even though this type of injury is difficult to come back from, especially since Suggs turns 30 in October, the nine-year Raven is aiming to return by the middle of the season.

This is Suggs first major injury of his career as he has played in 149 of a possible 152 games.

There is an odd twist to this story, though, as sources had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Suggs received this injury while playing pick-up basketball. However, this report has now been denied.

Schefter stands as one of the most dependable NFL journalists during the past nine years, so it’s odd that he would report this if he didn’t believe he had a reliable source. Hmm…

 

Replacing Suggs will not only be difficult because he has been a dependable pass rusher year after year (he is the Ravens’ career sack leader with 82 1/2), but more so because he sets up the Ravens commanding defense.

When Suggs is on the field, he constantly moves before and after the ball is snapped. His presence alone forces the opposing offense to adjust their play.¬†With Suggs’ superior ability to get to the quarterback all on his own, the rest of the Ravens defense can lay off. This might have to chance without Suggs on the field, and the Ravens might be forced to blitz more often.

During an era when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ravens fight back and forth every single year for the AFC North title, this is a huge boost for the Steelers. Out of Suggs’ 30 sacks the past two seasons, including postseason play, 8.5 have come against his team’s biggest rival.

The Ravens will still have one of the best defenses in the league, but this injury isn’t helping Baltimore and Ray Lewis in their attempt to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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