McCrary says he's sore, slow, but will play Sunday Knee injury could keep J. Lewis on sidelines

Ravens notebook

September 04, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens expect to have defensive end Michael McCrary on the field for his first game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

McCrary said he is hoping to play a full game, although he added he is frustrated with the persistent soreness in his knee.

"I'm uncomfortable because I don't feel 100 percent. It's kind of disturbing," said McCrary, who missed the entire preseason and the regular-season opener, although he was available as an emergency replacement Sunday.

"I'm extremely anxious, itchy, irritated. I'm more than ready mentally, but I'm rusty and I'm not moving the way I want to move. I don't have the speed I need yet. But I'll be out there."

The Ravens have listed McCrary, safety Ralph Staten (hamstring), wide receiver Ray Ethridge (knee/ankle), wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (knee) and offensive guard Jeff Blackshear (ankle) as questionable for Sunday.

Lewis and Blackshear did not practice yesterday, but McCrary, Staten and Ethridge worked out. Coach Ted Marchibroda said he expects Blackshear to play.

Lewis appears to be the most questionable. What was originally thought to be a slight knee sprain had turned a bit more serious by Tuesday.

"I hurt my knee when I planted on a kickoff return in the first quarter," Lewis said. "Playing in the slot is starting to take its toll, but I'm going to be all right. Two days after the game, it bothered me when it stiffened up. I'm not sure if I'll play on Sunday. We'll wait and see how it feels at the end of the week."

Testaverde tender

Quarterback Vinny Testaverde made a rare trip to the training room, where he was treated for the thigh contusion he suffered in Sunday's loss to Jacksonville.

Testaverde, listed as probable for the Bengals game, said there is no doubt he will start on Sunday.

With their second AFC Central opponent up next -- followed by three consecutive road games against the New York Giants, Tennessee and San Diego -- Testaverde said Sunday's game is crucial. He also said he needs to erase his bad moments that colored the 28-27 loss to the Jaguars, including three interceptions -- one late in the fourth quarter -- that helped Jacksonville's cause.

"I wish I had that last one [an underthrown pass intended for Lewis] on a string, so I could bring it back," Testaverde said. "There is nobody to blame but me for that one. The guy runs the right route, he gets open, and it's an underthrow.

"I forced too many passes overall, and I can't try to win the game by myself. We're not going to win by me going out and throwing for 400 yards every week. I have to do my job and do it smart."

Et cetera

The Ravens signed Texas Southern linebacker/defensive end Nicholas Lopez, 6 feet 4, 260, to their practice squad yesterday. Lopez, originally drafted in the fifth round by Miami, led Texas Southern as a senior last fall with 15 sacks and 26 tackles for losses.

The Ravens made room for Lopez by releasing fullback Jason Bratton from the practice roster. Rookie backup guard Dennis Elmore (sprained knee) and rookie linebacker Cornell Brown (ankle) did not make it through yesterday's practice.

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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