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Backups Harris and Hunter suffer serious injuries

As he walked off the practice field following the afternoon practice at McDaniel College, coach Brian Billick realized what those who approached him wanted to know and wasted little time delivering an answer.

Billick knew he had to respond to the losses of a couple of key backups in linebacker Bernardo Harris and receiver Javin Hunter in what was a rough injury day for the Ravens. Harris broke a bone in his leg during the middle of the morning session yesterday, and Hunter ruptured his Achilles' tendon a little later.

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Harris will be out four to six weeks; Hunter is lost for the season.

Billick did not know the status of either player following the morning session but was fully aware of the news by the afternoon. Safety Ray Perryman also left practice early with a dislocated left shoulder and is out indefinitely.

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"We had a rash of injuries this morning, and it's unfortunate," Billick said. "The most serious being Javin, but the other guys we anticipate being back."

Harris broke his left fibula after an offensive lineman rolled up the back of his leg. His leg was placed in a cast, and he was on crutches by the end of the afternoon.

Harris' snaps will go to undrafted rookie Chris Brown, who has played well throughout camp, and Bart Scott becomes the top backup at both positions.

"Bart is going to be the senior guy, so he is going to have to know," Billick said. "In that instance, it's good for Bart."

Hunter ruptured his right Achilles' tendon on a play in which he was barely touched. After limping around for a few minutes, Hunter left the field and did not return. He was vying for one of the backup receiver positions and was also in the running to be the kickoff return man.

Perryman, who intercepted Anthony Wright in Friday's scrimmage, was in a battle with Will Demps, Gerome Sapp and Anthony Mitchell for one of the final defensive back slots.

Cornerback Tom Knight also appeared on a makeshift injury report put out by the team. Knight left practice early after reinjuring his thumb, but returned for the afternoon session. Knight will be in a cast for the next six to eight weeks.

Tackle Orlando Brown (thigh), running back Musa Smith (knee), center Mike Flynn (hip), return man Lamont Brightful (knee) and Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap (back spasms) did not practice.

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"He's all right," Billick said of Heap. "Todd has this down to a science. He's got it down as to how much time he can miss. The ankle, the back; he was around Shannon [Sharpe] too long."

Receiver Marcus Robinson was carted off at the end of the afternoon session with an undisclosed injury. The team will know more about his condition today.

Day off helps

Yesterday was the second time in less than a week Billick commended the team for performing well after a day off.

The Ravens have the added benefit this year of not having to spend the night at the team hotel in Westminster.

"That's not a dramatic difference in what we have done before," Billick said. "The weekend schedule is what we have been doing for five years, and them going home Saturday night and Sunday night has not changed. There has been no adverse effect to it, and that is good."

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Brooks with starters

With Brown out much of the past week, Ethan Brooks has returned to the starting lineup and will likely get the nod for Saturday's preseason opener.

Brooks started 13 games last season but looked to be the odd man out once the team signed Brown.

So is he looking at Brown's injury as a chance to re-establish himself as the starter?

"They don't pay me to think about that stuff, and I don't need to worry about it," Brooks said. "I just try and go out there and improve my game every day, and whatever happens, happens. I've been on the other side, out of football looking in, so now I'm just happy to be here. Of course, I'd like to be out there on Sundays playing but it's not worth it to worry about that now."

Siragusa sighting

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Former Raven Tony Siragusa made his first appearance at practice yesterday. Siragusa will serve as an analyst for the Ravens' preseason games.


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