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Ravens' Rice not expected to miss much time

The SportsXchange

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice's strained left hip flexor isn't regarded as a long-term injury, with head coach John Harbaugh saying on Monday that Rice didn't require an MRI.

Harbaugh said Rice will probably be rested in practice and then re-evaluated by the weekend as to whether he can play Sunday against the Houston Texans.

"Indication is it's not anything that is serious," Harbaugh said. "We'll just be day to day with him."

With Rice out of the game after rushing for 36 yards on 13 carries and losing one fumble, Bernard Pierce replaced him as the primary tailback and finished with a team-high 57 rushing yards on 19 carries with one touchdown run.

Once Rice left the game, Pierce helped the Ravens run out the clock with 21 yards on six runs during a late fourth-quarter drive.

"It was a long fourth quarter, and somebody had to grind out those runs," Pierce said. "I've just got to keep playing to the best of my ability and keep making plays.

"As long as they keep giving me the ball, I'll keep carrying it. When you're trying to run the clock down, they know you're running. They have to stop you, and we can't let that happen."

Pierce expressed confidence that Rice won't be sidelined long.

"Sooner or later, he's going to be back," Pierce said. "Ray's going to be back, I have no doubt in my mind."

--During the second play of Sunday's game, Cleveland Browns nose guard Phil Taylor smacked Rice in the helmet and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I usually don't do things like that, but something happened and I still have to keep my composure."

Taylor was asked if Rice spit on him.

"Look at the film," Taylor said. "You'll see."

When asked if he had a previous issue with Rice, Taylor replied: "I don't like any running back that I play against."

--Rookie safety Matt Elam made his first NFL start, replacing veteran Michael Huff at free safety one game after Huff struggled mightily during a 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos.

"It was a great feeling to be out there for the first time," Elam said. "I felt like I did my job. I did well. I found out late in the week I was going to start. It meant a lot."

Elam had five tackles, but was also flagged for pass interference.

For Huff, this benching comes after being signed to a three-year, $6 million contract in March as the replacement for former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed.

-- CB Chykie Brown injured his right knee and had an MRI.

-- DE Chris Canty strained his groin and was scheduled for an MRI.

-- ILB Arthur Brown injured his left pectoral and had an MRI, but practiced Monday.
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