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Suggs' Achilles injury could be devastating twist for Ravens

If there was ever an injury that could sorely test the Ravens' stoic "Next Man Up" philosophy, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs may have suffered it when he damaged his Achilles tendon over the weekend -- reportedly in a pickup basketball game.

The Ravens are waiting for a full medical report after Suggs sees a specialist early next week, but it's probably not too early to speculate that the team will have to play at least part of next season without him. Even a partial Achilles tear is a serious injury that could impact Suggs' effectiveness. That's the injury that knocked Nolan Reimold of the Orioles out of his upbeat 2009 season and limited him the following year. A complete detachment -- the injury that shut down Philadelphia Phillies superstar Ryan Howard -- would likely sideline Suggs until the 2013 season.

This is one injury I have some personal experience with. I ruptured my right Achilles tendon in a pickup basketball game a couple of years ago. It wasn't a particularly painful injury, but a full rupture removes all of the support from the back of the ankle, making it impossible to bear any weight or push off with that foot. It took about four months of intense rehab after reconstructive surgery to return to normal activity, and I'm talking about the normal activity of a sportswriter, which basically entails walking, watching sporting events and eating chicken wings.

Suggs is one of the greatest linebackers of his generation, and he plays a position that requires maximum torque on his feet and ankles. Unless this report turns out to be greatly exaggerated and he only suffered a high ankle sprain, the Ravens are going to need Paul Kruger, newly drafted Courtney Upshaw and a few other guys (Sergio Kindle?) to step up big time next season to get sufficient pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

This obviously isn't good and almost certainly will impact the Ravens chances of getting deep into the playoffs this year.

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