Ravens hoping for best with Jernigan, Monroe for Saturday


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens will prepare for their sixth postseason appearance in seven years this week knowing the status of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and left tackle Eugene Monroe will remain in question.
The rookie Jernigan left Sunday’s game with a left foot injury and didn’t return after being carted to the locker room. Head coach John Harbaugh didn’t offer a great deal of optimism for him playing in Saturday’s wild-card matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Jernigan will not be placed on injured reserve and would appear to have a good chance to return for the divisional round if the Ravens advance.
In 12 games, Jernigan has collected 23 tackles and four sacks after being selected in the second round of May’s draft.
“I haven’t heard anything yet from our trainer other than it’s not a season-ending injury,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “It’s not a Lisfranc, so there is an opportunity possibly for him to get back Saturday night. It will be close, it will be tough, but if he responds really well in the next two days, he actually could get back and play.”
The loss of Jernigan is certainly eased by the return of five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Harbaugh said Monday that the 30-year-old appeared to be in good shape upon reporting back to the Ravens’ Owings Mills training facility.
Ngata hasn’t played since the Week 13 home loss to San Diego and was banned four games for testing positive for Adderall.
The potential for the return of left tackle Eugene Monroe sounds more promising after he missed Sunday’s 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. Monroe was in a walking boot last week after injuring his ankle in the Week 16 loss to Houston, but his chances appear better to play against the Steelers, which would be an important development in trying to slow the Pittsburgh pass rush.
Rookie free agent James Hurst made his fifth start of the year at left tackle on Sunday after filling in earlier in the year when Monroe underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.
“It’s at least 50-50. We’ll be pulling for that, but we’ll see how it goes,” said Harbaugh of Monroe’s chances of playing Saturday night. “I thought James played well. I really don’t feel a problem with James playing in there at all, either. It’s a real plus for us.”