The only person in the country that appears optimistic about Ray Lewis’ chance to play on Sunday is Browns head coach Pat Shurmur.  He told the media on Wednesday that he expects Lewis to suit up and play against his team in Cleveland.

Lewis was again sidelined for Wednesday’s practice with a nagging turf toe injury and while his status appears to be on lockdown at Owings Mills, my gut tells me he won’t play.

Turf toe injuries are serious business in the NFL, just ask Jonathan Ogden or Deion Sanders who essentially had their careers ended by them.  Hearing that Lewis has been troubled by this injury worries me about his future.  There never seemed to be a time when I thought Lewis’ tenure in Baltimore was concluding, but if this injury continues to linger this could very well be it.

Or perhaps it isn’t as serious as I think and the 36 year old linebacker just needs to stay fresh heading into the postseason.  The stakes are high for the Ravens.  A first round bye and home playoff game are definite possibilities for them in 2011.  They shouldn’t be looking to rush Lewis back, but rather get him back to 100 percent by keeping him on the bench as long as possible.  His presence certainly wasn’t missed on Thanksgiving.

With Dannell Ellerbe back in full participation at practices, I expect Lewis to again be holding the towel and providing moral support on the sidelines.  And that certainly isn’t a bad thing.

Check out Matt Lund and Patrick Guthrie’s thoughts on this topic on the BSR Podcast.