Suggs casts doubt on when he'll return

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Terrell Suggs' favorite line since injuring his Achilles tendon is that he's going to surprise people when he runs out of that tunnel this year.

I believed him when he said that after he got injured. I believed him when he said that after his surgery. But, after listening to him talk about his injury Thursday, I have my doubts that Suggs will play this season. Serious doubts.

Even though Suggs still vowed that he would still play in 2012, he backed off his predicted November return in his first news conference since partially tearing his Achilles tendon.

When asked about that timetable, Suggs said, "Maybe we were shooting too far, but you never know."

Minutes later, when asked about November, he said, "I’m not a doctor. That’s just a guess."

Suggs is one of the most confident players I've ever been around. This was hardly a confident athlete talking.

If Suggs won't be ready by November, you have to wonder if he'll be ready at all this season. Baltimore only has five regular-season games after November. Are the Ravens willing to use a roster spot on Suggs for most of the season like the Colts did with Peyton Manning?

This was not exactly the tone that the Ravens wanted in wrapping up their final workout together until training camp in late July.

Suggs was at his most defiant when shooting down reports that he injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. Witnesses, including a director of a gym in Arizona, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that they saw Suggs tear his Achilles during a basketball tournament.

Suggs acknowledges he was injured playing basketball, but he was adamant that he injured his Achilles while practicing a conditioning test.

"We’re talking entirely two different incidents. I didn’t get hurt doing that," Suggs said. "That’s not what happened. It happened when I was running my conditioning test."

Asked about the eyewitness accounts, Suggs said, "That’s why you decided to become a gym director and not a doctor. You got to laugh things off. Everybody has their own truths, but we all know what happened. I don’t shy away from anything. If that’s what happened, I would have been like, ‘I messed up.’ But that’s clearly not what happened."

Wearing a boot on his right foot and a black T-shirt with the letters YOLO ("you only live once"), Suggs said he's frustrated about not practicing with his teammates, but he believes Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw can fill the void.

"This defense can definitely get it done and hold the levees until I get back," he said. "Just like the deal when we lost our general for four games. You just got to go and get it done."

The Ravens were able to win when they were without linebacker Ray Lewis for four games last season. But, after hearing Suggs talk Thursday, the Ravens have to prepare themselves to play without the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for an extended period and perhaps the entire season.