HOUSTON — Ravens All-Pro outside linebacker Terrell Suggs could play Sunday against the Houston Texans.
The Ravens on Saturday activated the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year from the physically-unable-to-perform list, a procedural move required under league rules for him to be eligible to play.
The team has decided to play Suggs if he feels and looks good after pregame warm-ups, according to sources familiar with the situation. The Ravens have until one hour before the game to designate their inactive players.
To make room for Suggs, the Ravens waived outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, a 2010 second-round draft choice. Cutting Kindle was regarded as inevitable considering that he had played in only one game this season and was inactive for the other five.
When asked Friday whether Suggs would play against the Texans, coach John Harbaugh issued a guarded reply: "We will see. If I knew, I wouldn't tell you."
Team and league sources have been emphatic that the Ravens will maintain a cautious approach. They want to avoid a setback for Suggs.
Earlier this week one league source told The Baltimore Sun, "He's not playing," after an ESPN report said Suggs was planning to face the Texans.
Now the Ravens have made it a possibility.
Asked Thursday whether he would play Sunday, Suggs said: Thursday: "We'll decide Sunday what's best for the team. Right now, we're just feeling it out. Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there. There's no plan in place, take it day by day."
Suggs started practicing Wednesday, but his activity level has been low during the three days of workouts.
He tore his Achilles tendon in late April and had it repaired by Dr. Robert Anderson, a Charlotte, N.C., specialist.
Although Suggs has noted that the new procedure should accelerate the process and that his tear was higher up toward the calf muscle, this would still be a very fast return if he were to play in a game so soon.
The more realistic target goal for Suggs has always been regarded as November, especially with a bye week after Sunday's game.
The Ravens rank 26th in total defense and could use Suggs' run-stopping and pass-rushing skills back in the lineup. However, this is just the seventh game of the season and logic would seem to dictate that Suggs take more time before attempting to play.
Plus, Suggs is not in optimal condition right now and is carrying more than his usual playing weight of 260 pounds.
When asked what it's been like for him to sit, Suggs said, "It's been miserable."
Meanwhile, the Ravens' pass rush has languished without Suggs in the lineup.
He recorded 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles last season, but his teammates have just 10 sacks in six games this season.
"They don't have an individual pass rusher right now without Suggs," NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell said in a telephone interview. "I really like Paul Kruger as a player, but Kruger is not a pure pass rusher. Haloti Ngata is an inside pass rusher, but not a pure one like [the Texans'] J.J. Watt is. He's a different kind of player.
The Ravens' run defense has dipped to 26th in the league, allowing 441 rushing yards over the past two games with a franchise-record 227 yards surrendered during last week's 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
"The Ravens' defense isn't the same without Suggs," said former Washington Redskins safety Matt Bowen, an NFL analyst. "You can only do so many things with your scheme. You've got to have the players."
Known for his swagger, Suggs, 30, could provide a boost to a defense that just lost two defensive starters.
Inside linebacker and inspirational force Ray Lewis, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, tore his right triceps. And $50 million cornerback Lardarius Webb is out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus in his left knee that he suffered last Sunday against the Cowboys.
Drafted in the second round out of Texas in 2010, Kindle fractured his skull days before training camp of his rookie season.
The Dallas native suffered permanent hearing loss in his left ear when he fell down two flights of stairs and suffered neurological damage that required several months of rehabilitation.
Kindle recorded his first career NFL tackle, a solo stop, against the Philadelphia Eagles during a 24-23 loss at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 16. However, he has been a healthy scratch for the past four games.
Kindle had expressed disappointment recently to The Sun about his level of activity, but vowed to keep working hard.
His agent, Joel Segal, predicted Saturday that Kindle will draw interest as a free agent. He's subject to waiver claims Monday. If he clears waivers, then Kindle will become an unrestricted free agent.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound player hasn't complained, remaining patient and hoping to prove himself to the coaching staff.
"It would be nice to play against anybody," Kindle said. "I don't really ask the coaches anything. You just work hard, and the time will come. You got to be calm. Frustration ain't going to get you nowhere. I'm practicing well. I got to keep doing that, and it will all fall into place."