On Sunday John Harbaugh explained the surprising absence of Jimmy Smith from the Ravens lineup. Harbs said that Smith had had some trouble getting his groin to warm up and wasn’t able to play on it. He also noted that all season Smith had been able to get sufficiently warmed up to play in games. I saw that as a bit of a red flag and a bit of a nod to the toughness of Smith that he has had an injury for at least a few weeks and continued to play through it.
Smith has received some bad press from some disappointing play. He hasn’t been bad by any means, but he has failed to develop into the player he has the potential to be. His most notable critic has been Jamison Hensley of ESPN. Hensley has repeatedly bashed Smith this season and has called him a bust on several occasions. To me, that seems, not only a bit harsh, but extremely premature. Especially now that we know Smith has been playing through a groin injury.
The problem was muscular which means he was most likely suffering through some pain and a lot of tightness. For anyone who has never played a sport with a groin injury, it is way more painful than it sounds. It makes it much more difficult to reach full speed, cuts become very painful and every action that you make will increase the pain. It isn’t an injury with crippling pain, but it is one that would easily keep a speed position player like Smith playing far below his maximum level.
The word is that Smith will be healed in time to return this season, and I wish him a speedy recover, not just for his sake. This surgery is coming at the worst possible time as the Ravens are set to face quite a few good QBs over the next month or so and they are perilously thin at corner now. Cary Williams play went up about 15 notches when Webb went down, the Ravens need him to step it up yet again with Smith out for the next few weeks.