The Baltimore Ravens offense has taken another hit after losing guard Kelechi Osemele to a back injury. The second-year Raven is expected to undergo surgery on his back and is unlikely to return this season.
“I think the chances of him playing the rest of this year are probably pretty slim,” haed coach John Harbaugh said.
Osemele has been battling ongoing back problems that have impacted his play. The left guard has played in all seven games for the Ravens in 2013, but he will have to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the season.
A.Q. Shipley is likely to replace Osemele for the rest of the season. Shipley spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts before being traded to the Ravens in the offseason.
Shipley had the opportunity to play when the Ravens faced the Miami Dolphins and he is ready to step up for the rest of the season.
“I feel very comfortable,” Shipley said about starting. “Since the Miami game, I’ve been practicing strictly pretty much guard. Center is my natural position. I feel comfortable at that, so I’ve been pushing guard. I feel pretty good.”
While Shipley is a reliable replacement for Osemele, the Ravens also have two other guards that could compete for the starting position. Jah Reid and Rick Wagner are also on the coaches’ radar.
But losing Osemele is not good news for the Ravens. Guard Marshal Yanda compliments Osemele and the two have become a powerful duo for the Ravens. The offensive line has not been as strong as it was last year, struggling to block for the run game and protect quarterback Joe Flacco and allowing the opposing defenses to sack Flacco 20 times. In addition, the Ravens run game is currently ranked last in the NFL in total yards per carry.