The Ravens' exercise in precaution paid off Sunday, emerging relatively unscathed as far as sustaining any new major injuries during a relatively meaningless regular-season finale.
Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and starting rookie offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele didn't finish Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to injuries, but both are expected be back on the field for the postseason.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated neither injury is regarded as serious enough to affect their availability for next weekend's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium.
Leach left in the first quarter of the 23-17 loss after aggravating his sprained right ankle when he took a shot to the lower leg and was replaced by tight end Billy Bajema.
Osemele left the game in the second quarter to go to the locker room to have a lower-body injury examined. Not even limping later in the locker room, Osemele said that he wasn't hurt badly and could have gone back in the game if needed.
"I'm fine," Osemele said. "I'm good for next week."
“Injury-wise, there's nothing to speak of, of consequence,” Harbaugh said. “The guys that came out, Vonta and Kelechi, should be fine for next week. I really don't have the diagnosis on [Leach], I just know he's going to be OK.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens hope to be much healthier for the postseason after resting starters like wide receiver Anquan Boldin (bruised left shoulder) and strong safety Bernard Pollard (damaged ribs). Both emphasized that they could have played if needed Sunday.
“That's what we were looking to do, get guys rested so we can have all hands on deck next week,” Boldin said. “If it was one of those bigger games, I definitely could have played.”
Pollard missed his third consecutive game after hurting his ribs again during an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.
“I could have went,” said Pollard, who practiced last week and was probable on the injury report. “Just being smart.”
Pollard is excited about the prospects of having a healthier team for the playoffs, especially on defense where the Ravens are hoping to have Pollard, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (torn right biceps) and middle linebacker Ray Lewis (right triceps surgery) back in the lineup.
“This is the first time we get a chance to get our defense back, we're excited and ready to roll,” Pollard said. “We look at this as a chance to show our fans, show our coaches, show the city and show the opposing team we're here to play. We got to show what we're made of.”
Battling with Burfict
Rice roughly shoved Burfict to the ground in the first quarter, leading to an unnecessary roughness penalty. Rice said Burfict was talking a lot of trash.
“I told him he'll be a great player if he didn't talk so much,” Rice said. “I got a personal foul messing with him. I don't know if it was that personal. I cut him and went back and I finished him off.
“He's going to be a good player. He's feisty, that's what I told him. You see a young guy like that and talent will only take you so far.”
Burfict, who went undrafted after a disastrous NFL scouting combine, has become the Bengals' leading tackler and had a game-high 18 tackles Sunday, gloated afterward.