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Ravens ready for defensive leader Lewis to rejoin lineup

It has been more than two weeks since Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis has played a game because of an injured right toe, but no one needed the break more than the team's 36-year-old defensive leader.

"The rest part is big," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "I'm hopeful. I think he's got a real good chance (to play Sunday). We'll just have to see how it goes."

But Harbaugh made a point not to make any assurances of Lewis returning to face the Cleveland Browns this weekend.

"Ray is probably the guy that's the furthest away (from returning), if you're looking at all the guys," Harbaugh told the team's official website. "But then again, you never know. Ray has a sprained toe, a turf toe kind of thing, so those are a little more unpredictable."

The Ravens (8-3) surprisingly have flourished without Lewis. The defense experienced its ups and downs during a 31-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, but Baltimore had nine sacks and yielded just two field goals in turning back the San Francisco 49ers 16-6 on Thanksgiving.

"They were two huge wins in five days. You can't say enough about it," Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "It's a tough thing to do. We played a really good game against the Niners, but we're moving on. We need to get win No. 9, and we're going to try and get it this week."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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