Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's 2014 season lies in limbo after he was indicted on one count of aggravated assault by a New Jersey grand jury last Thursday. Meanwhile, Bernard Pierce believes he will be ready for the team's July training camp after undergoing shoulder surgery in January.
"Definitely by training camp," Pierce said Saturday night at a charity basketball game with teammates, per The Baltimore Sun. "I think I'm right on schedule, honestly. I'm getting better, man. I'm doing rehab every day. I'm just grinding it out."
Pierce dealt with shoulder, hamstring, toe and knee injuries in 2013. He had an awful second season after showing promise as a rookie.
Pierce combined with Rice for the 30th-ranked rushing offense last year. The second-year runner had 436 yards on 152 carries, good for a dreadful 2.9 average yards per rush.
A revamped offensive line coupled with new coordinator Gary Kubiak's runner-friendly offense immediately should help the Ravens' rushing attack. However, with Rice's legal situation, the team needs a healthy Pierce in 2014.
Prior to Rice's indictment, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would let the legal process play out before making a decision on a possible suspension for the Ravens running back.
If Rice is held out any amount of time, the load will fall on Pierce and his surgically repaired shoulder.