Ray Lewis Injury: Why the Ravens Linebacker Is Not Done Yet

John DegrooteCorrespondent IIOctober 15, 2012

September 27, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) pumps up the crowd during the game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

It was announced on Monday afternoon that Baltimore Ravens linebacker and 13-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis would miss the rest of the 2012-13 season after suffering a complete tear of the triceps. 

The injury came on a tackle in the fourth quarter of Baltimore's 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. 

A complete tear of the triceps is a serious injury, especially for an aging linebacker. Considering Lewis will turn 38 before next season gets underway, could last Sunday's game be the final memory we have of Lewis in an NFL uniform?

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports pondered this question in an article, saying:

Would Lewis even want to come back? With his play already slipping -- as would be the case for any mortal linebacker approaching age 40 -- is his body telling him something, to go out while still close enough to the top? 

While Canfora's point are valid, Lewis is too much of a competitor to let an injury be the reason he retires. 

Over a spectacular 17-year career, Lewis has been selected as a First-Team All-Pro seven times and was twice named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. 

In recent seasons, Lewis has lost a step or two, but he is still one of the league's elite middle linebackers. While young guns like Patrick Willis and Jerod Mayo rely on their athletic ability to dominate the position, Lewis is a savvy veteran with nearly two decades of NFL experience to help him stay at the top of his game. 

Despite his advanced age, Lewis leads the Ravens with 57 tackles this season, picking up his play while the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs, recovers from a torn Achilles tendon. 

Lewis also remains one of the best leaders in all of sports, firing up his teammates with a pre-game routine that is impossible to replicate. 

After some much-needed rest and recovery, Lewis should come into the 2013-14 season with a revitalized body and mind.

A 16-game regular season plus the postseason does an incredible amount of damage to a linebacker's body, especially a run-stuffer like Lewis. Considering he has not missed more than four games since 2005, the time off may do him a lot of good.

It is unfathomable to think of a Ravens defense without Lewis anchoring the middle linebacker position. He deserves to go out on his own terms, and there is no doubt that he will be rehabbing relentlessly to get back on the field next season.

The future Hall of Famer has already made his mark on the NFL and will go down as one of the greatest linebackers in league history. But he is not done just yet.