Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain is unlikely to require surgery on the spinal cord contusion that cut short his 2012 season, according to Robert Klemko of USA Today. The issue is "resolving itself," which means that recovery is on track, presumably in line with the veteran linebacker's hopes to play next season.
McClain has started alongside Ray Lewis since 2011, and seemed to be the heir apparent to take over the primary inside linebacker role now that Lewis has called it a career, but the injury put him on the sidelines and there has been little information on him or his recovery.
He was injured on Dec. 9, so he missed the end of the Ravens' season and, of course, their run at the Super Bowl title. He was on the sidelines when the Ravens bested the San Francisco 49ers in the big game.
In 13 games last season, McClain had 57 solo tackles with 22 assists, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery. His primary role as the Ted linebacker is to eat up blockers and be a tackling force, and many felt he was really coming into his own since 2011.
If McClain is able to make a full recovery, especially without the need for surgery, he'll likely move right back into a starting role. The Ravens haven't signed a replacement for Lewis at this point, so the Mike and Ted linebacker spots will likely be down to McClain and a future signee or possibly even a rookie given the relatively strong inside linebacker draft class.