Just when the Ravens were returning to health on their offensive line, misfortune has greeted them at the start of the season's second half.
Right tackle Harry Swayne, who missed two games with a lower left leg contusion last month, will miss a minimum of four weeks and possibly the rest of the season after having surgery today to repair a fracture in his right foot.
Swayne, who was unavailable for comment yesterday -- Ravens coach Brian Billick gave the team the afternoon off following their 41-9 blowout victory in Cleveland on Sunday -- suffered the injury during the third quarter of the Browns game.
Swayne, who continued to play before the Ravens began clearing their bench early in the fourth quarter, will have a pin inserted to stabilize the broken bone.
Swayne "has no idea how it happened. I've asked his position coach to look for it" on film, said Ravens head trainer Bill Tessendorf.
Billick said the early plan is to replace Swayne with Spencer Folau, the team's No. 1 backup tackle. Folau has made nearly a full recovery from a sprained knee he suffered in practice three weeks ago. Whether he starts depends largely on how he performs in practice tomorrow and Thursday.
Folau has missed the last three games.
"We're optimistic [about Folau starting], but the question is, can he go the whole game, or is that going to put him under a little more duress than we think is viable right now?" Billick said. "We probably won't know until the end of the week."
If Folau is not the best option, Billick said he would move Everett Lindsay from left guard to right tackle and replace Lindsay with James Atkins or rookie Edwin Mulitalo.
"Harry just gets back healthy and then he breaks his foot. That's tough," left tackle Jonathan Ogden said.
Lesson for Boulware
Outside linebacker Peter Boulware's insistence on re-entering Sunday's game late in the fourth quarter put him in a position to dislocate his right shoulder again, and Billick figures Boulware learned a valuable lesson.
"We had pulled Peter out, and he wanted to go back in. I don't mean to say he defied us by going back in. He wanted to be a part of what was going on," Billick said.
Boulware said he attempted to break his fall while trying to make a diving stop on a screen pass, and he extended his right arm in an ill-advised manner. Even with the restrictive harness he wears to protect the shoulder -- which will most likely be operated on after the season -- Boulware felt excruciating pain as he hit the ground.
The team's medical staff worked on Boulware for several minutes before Tessendorf escorted him to the locker room in the game's closing seconds.
"I saw Peter sitting at his locker [immediately after the game]," Billick said. "I told him, 'The next time we take you out of the game, stay out of the game.'
"I'm glad it didn't turn out worse."
The Ravens must decide today whether to activate rookie safety Anthony Poindexter or place him on injured reserve.
Poindexter, a seventh-round draft pick out of Virginia, had reconstructive knee surgery a year ago and began the season on the physically unable to perform list. He has been practicing with the team for the last three weeks.
Billick said there is a strong chance that Poindexter will be added to the 53-man roster.
"Whether that means he'll show up on the active 45 [game-day roster] anytime, I don't know," Billick said. "He's running around very well, and he needs to get into football shape. It's my understanding that the knee is structurally sound."