OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is not expected to play against the Cleveland Browns Sunday due to microfractures in his back.
“How do I feel? Probably first time in my career I feel like I’m 36,” Smith said during a press conference a week ago.
It’s one of several reasons why the Ravens face a tough game at home in Week 5.
Smith won’t be the only player that likely to be out this week: rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf) and defensive lineman Chris Canty did not participate during Wednesday and Thursday practices. Wide receiver Michael Campanaro was placed on injured reserve and will be out due to a herniated disc.
Smith left during the third quarter of the Oct. 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a back injury.
“He’s in the Hall of Fame of pain tolerance,” head coach John Harbaugh said during a press conference Monday. “He’ll be back as soon as he can be.”
Right now Smith is on a week-to-week basis, Harbaugh said.
The veteran is the team’s leading receiver with 29 receptions, 373 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
With Smith out, it remains to be seen which wide receiver will fill the void. Harbaugh’s choices are Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Darren Waller and the recently acquired Chris Givens.
“It’s a team game, and we all have to step up when somebody like Steve goes down,” Ravens’ offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said during a press conference here Thursday.
The Ravens plan to take immediate advantage of their trade for Rams wide receiver Chris Givens.
“(Chris Givens is) going to be out there on Sunday,” Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday. “I’m really hopeful that he plays a lot.”
“He understands what it’s like to be a Raven,” Trestman said.
With so many team injuries, quarterback Joe Flacco will have to make adjustments to his game, but his support system doesn’t seemed to be worried.
“It is great to have Joe as a quarterback, even with us going through all this,” Aiken told Garrett Downing, staff writer for the Ravens. “That’s why I feel so confident that we will be fine.”
Harbaugh also has faith in his quarterback.
“I think he’ll do what he always does,” Harbaugh said. “His job is to do his job, right?”
The Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns are both 1-3 and tied for last place in the AFC North standings.
“We’re battling to be third place in the division right now,” Harbaugh said.
The Browns are ranked third-to-last in rushing defense in the league, so the Ravens will attempt to exploit that defense when they face off Sunday. Baltimore has won 13 out of its last 14 games against Cleveland dating back to 2008.
Sunday’s Ravens-Browns game is at 1 p.m. on CBS.