Between the two Super Bowl teams, the one that needed the two weeks off more is the Ravens. Not only are they the older, veteran team, but they also have several players who have been hurt at some point this season and never fully recovered. While the 49ers also have the Smiths healing, only Aldon is getting better, and while the time off doesn’t hurt the 49ers by any stretch of the imagination, it doesn’t help them nearly as much as it does Baltimore. The big picture is that both teams avoided any setbacks in their respective championship rounds, and with no lingering injury issues, both teams will get their opponent’s best. This should mean a good game, and an eventual winner who earned those rings.
Baltimore Getting Healthy
A lot of attention has been paid to Ray Lewis and his miraculous comeback, but little attention has been paid to Terrell Suggs. Like the team’s fearless leader, Suggs also returned well ahead of schedule from his partially torn Achilles’ tendon. Suggs missed the first half of the season, and both he and can Lewis will benefit from an extra week to lick their wounds. There are other players as well, notably Bernard Pollard, Halot Ngata and Ed Reed on the Baltimore side who have played with an assortment of injuries most of the year, and will all benefit from some rest.
Justin and Aldon
San Francisco has also suffered their fair share of injuries this year, but unlike Baltimore, they were season ending injuries. Kendall Hunter, Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham all knew that the playoffs weren’t in their future, but the team was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when Justin Smith said that his torn triceps would not keep him out of the post season. Since his return the defense has played better, but Smith needs offseason surgery, and the time off is not really helping his cause. He will be pretty much at the same level he was two weeks ago, which is fine because he is still effective.
The return of Justin Smith has helped Aldon Smith who has not been himself as of late. Some will point to the fact that Justin Smith was not on the field, but it’s clear that Aldon is also battling a shoulder injury. Even with Justin back in the lineup, Aldon has not been himself, and unlike his namesake, Aldon will benefit from the time to heal. This could be big news as Aldon Smith, if back to the player he was at the start of the season, can completely change the outlook of the game.
In a game of such importance, it’s important that injuries do not come into play. They are players that are not 100%, but at this time of the season, nobody really is. Once the ball is in the air, emotion will take over for both teams, and an excuse for any outcome will not be related to an injury. As long as both teams can avoid any in game injuries, the Super Bowl will be decided by the team that play better, not the one lucky enough to enter the game healthier.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.