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Ravens nose tackle Pierce goes on injured reserve after having surgery for biceps tear

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A potential big loss for the Ravens defense became official Thursday with veteran nose tackle Michael Pierce undergoing surgery for a torn biceps sustained in the Week 3 win at New England.

On Wednesday, head coach John Harbaugh said Pierce was still deciding between having surgery that would sideline him for the rest of the 2022 campaign and trying to play through the injury and delaying the surgery until after the season. On Thursday morning, Pierce posted a video on his verified Instagram account that he was about to have surgery.

Baltimore placed Pierce on injured reserve Thursday afternoon and has now lost at least one player to a season-ending injury in each of its first three games of the 2022 campaign. The Ravens lost offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon) and cornerback Kyle Fuller (knee) in Week 1 and outside linebacker Steven Means (Achilles tendon) in Week 2.

“Mike was playing great, and we’ll see what happens,” defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said. “The thing I think we have our [defensive] line depth — there are guys to step in. It’s obviously a challenge for Travis [Jones] moving forward, but he’s up for it.

“We’ll see what happens on how we mix and match the pieces, but anytime someone goes down, it presents challenges. And for them personally, you feel for them for all the work he’s put in.”

With Pro Football Focus having graded Pierce as the NFL’s fifth-best interior defensive lineman through the first three weeks of the season, the Ravens will have big run-stopping shoes to fill with Jones, a third-round rookie out of Connecticut, and third-year defensive lineman Broderick Washington expected to receive increased snaps at nose tackle. Having returned to the Ravens on a three-year, $16.5 million deal in March, the 29-year-old Pierce has now played in just 11 games over the last three seasons due to injuries and opting out of the 2020 campaign because of the pandemic.

In better news for the Ravens, left tackle Ronnie Stanley was a full participant in practice for a second straight day and says he’s “very close” to making his return to game action. Having missed 30 of Baltimore’s last 31 games — including the postseason — due to a severe left ankle injury sustained nearly 23 months ago, the 28-year-old said “this could very possibly be the week” he returns, which would be perfect timing as backup left tackle Patrick Mekari remains sidelined with a sprained ankle. The Ravens would prefer not to have to lean on rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele to try to slow eight-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Von Miller in Sunday’s clash with Buffalo.

A 2019 All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, Stanley last played in the 2021 season opener, struggling through that loss to Las Vegas and undergoing season-ending surgery several weeks later.

(Ronnie Stanley discusses his return from the ankle injury that’s sidelined him for the better part of two years.)

“I feel way different. I feel way better than what I was when I played that first game last year,” Stanley said. “I’m in a way better place. I’m very optimistic, very confident about me getting back to where I want to be.”

In addition to Mekari, veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston remained sidelined from practice with a groin injury.

Meanwhile, the Bills continued to deal with a crowded injury report on Thursday that included heightened concern about starting wide receiver Gabe Davis, who didn’t practice after being limited with an ankle injury on Wednesday.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OLB Justin Houston (groin), OL Patrick Mekari (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB J.K. Dobbins (chest), CB Marcus Peters (knee), WR James Proche (groin), OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle)

BUFFALO
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Christian Benford (hand), WR Gabe Davis (ankle), WR Jake Kumerow (ankle), DT Jordan Phillips (hamstring)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Ryan Bates (concussion), CB Dane Jackson (neck), TE Dawson Knox (back/hip), CB Cam Lewis (forearm/knee), C Mitch Morse (elbow), OL Justin Murray (foot), DT Ed Oliver (ankle), S Jordan Poyer (foot)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OT Dion Dawkins (illness)

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