Surgery to repair Ravens quarterback Steve McNair's partially torn rotator cuff went well yesterday with no complications, coach Brian Billick said.
McNair partially dislocated his left, nonthrowing shoulder and tore the rotator cuff in the team's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 11. The Ravens placed McNair on injured reserve just hours before Monday night's 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots.
"[The surgery] was needed," Billick said after practice yesterday. "There was some ... labrum [damage] that was more severe. Yet the prognosis is good that it should be fully healed over a six- to eight-week period."
The timetable for McNair's return as the starting quarterback is not as definitive. The 13-year veteran went 2-4 as a starter this season, throwing a career-worst two touchdown passes, committing 11 turnovers and compiling a passer rating of 73.9.
Billick was noncommittal about the future of McNair, who turns 35 in February, but he seemed more certain when asked by the Indianapolis media during a conference call yesterday.
"I think he can come back next year," Billick said. "That's Steve's choice, where he is in his career and what he wants to do going forward. ... He's dealt with injuries before, certainly, and this is not one that has a long prognosis for rehab."
"With this late date, I don't know who it is you would bring in," the coach said. "A lot of the league has been two quarterbacks most of the year. So the third was really a luxury."
The injury front
Cornerback Chris McAlister (strained knee), defensive tackle Justin Bannan (sprained knee) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (high ankle sprain) did not practice yesterday as the team began preparation for Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Billick said the team is merely being cautious with the injured players. Williams ran along the back goal line under trainer Bill Tessendorf's supervision.
Safeties Ed Reed (hip) and Gerome Sapp (hamstring), tight end Todd Heap (strained hamstring), cornerback Samari Rolle (shoulder) and fullback Justin Green (thigh) were limited in practice.
Rookie offensive tackle Jared Gaither said he feels better after overcoming a virus last week that restricted his breathing and caused vomiting.
Because of yesterday's snowfall, the team practiced indoors, but the decision was not unanimous. "Some of them wanted to [practice in the snow]," Billick said.
Rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes dived into the snow after practice. The Florida native said yesterday was the first time he had ever seen snow.
"It's more than I thought it would be," Barnes said. "But everybody's telling me, 'Yeah, you can like it now, but in two weeks, you're going to hate it.'"