Unhealthy outlook

The Baltimore Sun

RavensThe day after Return specialist B.J. Sams is done for the season with a severe knee injury, and Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden is out indefinitely with a hyperextended toe, Ravens coach Brian Billick announced on his weekly radio show last night.

Ogden missed the preseason with the toe injury and left two plays into the second quarter Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals after feeling pain.

Billick, who had previously canceled his day-after news conference with local reporters, told WBAL radio that Ogden was "the most serious" of the injured starters.

"It's going to be painful all year long," said Billick, who indicated that Ogden didn't reinjure the toe. "It's a matter of him adjusting to it. I don't know if Jonathan will be able to come back from this or not."

If Ogden is sidelined, Adam Terry would move from right to left tackle and rookie third-round pick Marshal Yanda would start at right tackle.

Ogden hyperextended the big toe on his left foot in a Dec. 17 win over the Cleveland Browns and missed the final two regular-season games last season.

He started the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but he aggravated the injury in that game.

Ogden did not have surgery but was told by a specialist after last season that he would need four to six months to recover.

He missed all the offseason minicamps and the preseason games because of the toe. He didn't practice until Aug. 28, two weeks before the season opener.

Ogden seemed fine in his first game back until he abruptly limped off the field during the Ravens' sixth possession.

Ogden wasn't in the locker room after the game, and players were off yesterday.

For Sams, this was the second straight season that has ended with an injury in Cincinnati.

Ten months ago, Sams broke his ankle at Paul Brown Stadium. On Monday night, he tore an anterior cruciate ligament.

It could be Sams' final game as a Raven. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"He's definitely out for the year," Billick told WBAL. "It's just a shame because B.J. was having such a great preseason and was so anxious to come back and re-establish himself after the injury last year."

Sams will likely be replaced on kickoffs by rookie third-round pick Yamon Figurs. On punts, the Ravens could use Figurs or safety Ed Reed, who returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown Monday.

The injuries to quarterback Steve McNair (groin) and linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) are uncertain.

Lewis was expected to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging yesterday, which could clear up his injury.

He told reporters in the locker room after the game that he had torn the triceps in his right arm, which could be a season-ending injury. But the Ravens have disputed that, saying Lewis could not have returned to play if he had torn the muscle.

McNair said after the game that he didn't know the extent of his injury, which forced him to sit out the final drive of the game.

He injured the left side of his groin, which caused many of his passes to sail high.

"When the injury happened, I wasn't really able to follow through," McNair said. "At the same time, that's no excuse. I still continued to play."

One of the most injured stars of this generation, McNair has never had to deal with a groin injury.

"You can add that to the list now," he said.

Kyle Boller would make his first start since the end of the 2005 season if McNair can't play.

The schedule isn't working in the Ravens' favor.

Because they began the season Monday night, the Ravens have only five days to get their players healthy for the New York Jets. It could be difficult for the injured Ravens to recover in time to play.

"It makes it a little bit tougher, but that's what the schedule is," Billick said after the game.


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