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Jimmy Smith (foot) to miss rest of season for Ravens

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If the Baltimore Ravens are going to mount a playoff run over the next two months, they will have to do it without one of their most valuable players.

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Cornerback Jimmy Smith will miss the rest of the season after undergoing foot surgery, the team announced Thursday.

"With the exam this morning, the doctors decided that he needed surgery and they repaired the injury," coach John Harbaugh said, via the team's official website. "Jimmy is finished for the season, but will recover for our offseason program."

Smith is under contract for $6.898 million next season.

The 2011 first-round draft pick had been playing at a Pro Bowl level this year after a breakout 2013 season. Per Pro Football Focus metrics, the 51.5 passer rating on throws in Smith's direction ranks as one of the five-best figures among NFL cornerbacks.

With Smith out of the lineup last week, Baltimore's secondary was exposed as overmatched against Ben Roethlisberger's white-hot aerial attack.

This is a crushing blow to the Ravens defense. Lardarius Webb is coming off one of the worst performance of his career. Smith's Week 9 replacement, Dominique Franks, was cut this week -- as was early-season starter Chykie Brown.

Harbaugh has been forced to retool his defensive backfield, claiming Danny Gorrer off waivers from the Lions and shifting safeties to cornerback.

Smith's absence presents a stiff challenge for Harbaugh and his staff as they attempt to take advantage of an open race in the AFC North the rest of the way.

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