Pryce isn't expecting to return until Nov. 5

The Baltimore Sun

Although the Ravens are hoping that Trevor Pryce might return for the Oct. 14 game against the St. Louis Rams, the defensive end is not nearly as optimistic.

Pryce, who hasn't played since fracturing his left wrist in the third quarter of the Ravens' win over the New York Jets on Sept. 16, said yesterday that he did not think he would be ready to play before the team's bye Oct. 28.

"After the bye," Pryce said of his projected return. "I'm almost 90 percent sure I'll play against Pittsburgh [on Nov. 5]."

That prediction seemed to contradict coach Brian Billick's assessment that Pryce might be healthy enough to play against the Rams. "Obviously, he's out for this week [against the San Francisco 49ers], but that's encouraging maybe for next week," Billick said.

Whatever the date, Pryce's availability could help spark a pass rush that has generated just six sacks through the season's first four games. Defensive linemen Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan have combined for seven tackles and zero sacks this season, and opposing offenses have double-teamed Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs, who doesn't have a sack.

Last season, the defense recorded 17 sacks in the first four games en route to 60 for the season, second in the NFL to the San Diego Chargers' 61. But Pryce was quick to downplay his impact on the pass rush.

"I am not a catchall, trust me," he said. "It's not a lack of a pass rush. The pass rush is fine. I think quarterbacks - and good defenses get this - they get rid of the ball quicker. The routes are short, you're not holding the ball, you let stuff go before the route is done. Good defenses have that problem."

Pryce, who had the stitches removed from his left wrist this week, said he dislocated his wrist and ripped the ligaments. Pins are still in the wrist to accelerate the healing process, but Pryce said once those are removed he should be ready to play.

"I won't be limited," he said. "I won't put any [limitations] on myself. If they [the coaches] think he can't do this or he can't do that, that's different. But it won't be because of me."

Rolle running again

Cornerback Samari Rolle backpedaled and sprinted yesterday in his first appearance at practice in two weeks, but the team listed Rolle in the "Did Not Participate" category.

Rolle, who has missed the past two games, has not practiced since Sept. 20 because of an illness and complications from the medication administered to treat the illness. Rolle was unavailable for comment, but Billick seemed encouraged by Rolle's presence.

"He's running around, and we'll see how he feels - same old, same old - tomorrow," Billick said. "We'll see how it progresses during the week."

Tight ends Todd Heap (hamstring) and Daniel Wilcox (toe) did not practice, but Wilcox vowed to be ready to play against the 49ers. Suggs sat out with a case of pink eye.

Quarterback Steve McNair (groin), offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (toe), wide receiver Derrick Mason (knee) and return specialist Yamon Figurs (shoulder) were limited in practice.

49ers believe in Hill

Former University of Maryland quarterback Shaun Hill will back up 49ers starter Trent Dilfer in Sunday's game.

Hill has taken only two snaps in his six-year career, going to a knee on the final two plays of the 2005 season for the Minnesota Vikings. But San Francisco coach Mike Nolan expressed faith in Hill.

"He's probably more instinctive a guy than anybody we have on our team as far as quarterbacking goes, but obviously there's talent that goes along with that, but he has good talent," Nolan said yesterday during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "And if he had to go in the game, I'm confident that he'd do a good job."

End zone

Linebacker Dan Cody appeared to suffer a setback in his comeback from offseason knee surgery when he limped off the practice field yesterday after working out with linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald. Cody appeared to injure his left leg, but not the right knee, which was operated on during the offseason. Cody was unavailable for comment.

Sun reporter Bill Ordine contributed to this article.

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