Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice Sick Night Before Big Game

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IJanuary 15, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 09:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter of their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens will battle the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional game on Saturday afternoon and may be without one of their best players.

ESPN reported that Ravens running back Ray Rice is not feeling well heading into the big game on Saturday. Rice reportedly started feeling ill on Friday afternoon and has been vomiting at the team’s hotel.

If he is not healthy enough to play in tomorrow’s game, it would severely hurt the Ravens' chance to win in Pittsburgh.

The latest odds for this game as posted by online sportsbook, Skybook, have the Ravens listed as three-point underdogs, but that is subject to change depending on Rice’s status.

Rice is a key cog in the offense and had 17 carries for 57 yards on the ground in the victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, to advance to this game. Rice is known for turning small swing passes into huge gains and bailing out quarterback Joe Flacco, when the pressure gets to him.

Although the Ravens are deep in the running back position with Willis McGahee, Rice is a focal point of the Ravens offense.

The illness has yet to be identified, but if it is the flu, then other players could be affected although reports have yet to surface.

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It is too late for the Ravens to alter the game plan if Rice is unable to play, putting the onus on the other backs to perform against a very good Pittsburgh run defense.

This has the potential to be a closely contested game between two bitter rivals, but without Rice the Ravens could be in trouble.

Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at mregaw@gmail.com.