Ravens' Ed Reed says he's playing injured

Ravens safety Ed Reed has received criticism lately for not playing up to his usual high level.

Reed has a reason for that: he's playing injured.

"I had a stinger hurt me this year so bad in my right shoulder to where now it has affected my deltoid (muscle in the shoulder) and my scapula," Reed told the AFC North blog. "My shoulder has just been hanging on the last couple of weeks. You could see how it has affected me for the most part. I think I've missed one tackle for four games straight, one in each game."

Reed hasn't been listed on the injury report the past four weeks, so this is the first time that this is being revealed. While a nerve impingement has limited his ability to tackle for the past few years, he has struggled to make tackles more this season. That was evident when he missed a tackle in the regular-season finale on Bengals backup running back Bernard Scott that resulted in a touchdown.

This injury could have an impact in Sunday's divisional playoff game against Houston. Reed will need to help out in run support against the Texans, the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack in the regular season that led all playoff teams last weekend with 188 yards on the ground. But this injury could limit Reed's effectiveness.