OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice said Thursday that his bruised right knee shouldn’t keep him from playing Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rice hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns. An MRI on Monday revealed no ligament or cartilage damage.
“Once you hear the good news of nothing being torn and it’s just a bruise, I felt great,” he said Thursday. “It’s just getting better each day. I’m just going out there working because I know it’s just a bruise. I got a second opinion, got everything I needed to do. Once you find out it’s just a bruise, you’ve got new life again.”
Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain will get the brunt of the carries if Rice can’t play. Though Rice has no intention of sitting out Baltimore’s showdown against the unbeaten Steelers, who lead the AFC North.
“We have a great corps of backs, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to play,” Rice said.
He acknowledged that the final decision will be made by coach John Harbaugh.
“He’ll see how I look in practice,” Rice said. “Right now, I feel great.”
Although he didn’t practice Wednesday, he said he was able to run and cut a little bit on his own.
“If I’m able to do the things I can do and be the Ray Rice I can be, there’s no question on whether I’ll play or not,” Rice said. “At the end of the day, Sunday’s the ultimate test.”
He’s certain the Steelers won’t target his knee on Sunday.
“I don’t think they’re dirty,” Rice said. “I don’t think anybody has the intent to go out there and hurt anybody. I have respect for them, they have respect for us. I don’t think it’s going to be one of those situations where they’re going to take a blatant shot at the knee.”
Now in his third NFL season, Rice made the Pro Bowl last year and currently leads the Ravens in yards rushing.