Moore to miss final 3 games Ravens strong safety will have surgery on left knee fracture

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

The Ravens' wounded secondary took another major hit yesterday when veteran strong safety Stevon Moore learned he would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee fracture.

Moore, a nine-year veteran who has made a team-high 77 consecutive starts dating to his days as a Cleveland Brown, will have surgery to repair an osteochondral fracture in the knee next week by team doctor Claude T. Moorman.

Moore, who had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on Aug. 1 and has played in pain to some degree for the entire season, had the knee drained the day before and the day after Sunday's 29-27 loss in Jacksonville. An MRI exam yesterday revealed the fracture.

"I had a feeling I was going to get some bad news, because I've been getting a lot of swelling in my knee. I hadn't had fluid like that before," said Moore, 30. "It's just something that's gotten progressively worse throughout the season, and now it's something we have to address.

"It hurts me, because I can't go, regardless of how the season is going. I still want to be out there. I don't want to play the game to be a hero or a tough guy. I want to win the game. The streak is great, but streaks are made to be broken. I'm more disappointed that I can't help the guys on the field."

Moore's absence adds more ominous implications to Sunday's game against visiting Seattle.

The Seahawks (6-7), behind quarterback Warren Moon, have the league's No. 1-rated passing offense. The Ravens, who have lost cornerback Eugene Daniel (hamstring) and safety Rondell Jones (groin) in the past two weeks, most likely will start rookies Kim Herring and Ralph Staten at safety, while second-year cornerback DeRon Jenkins will start for the second straight game in place of Daniel, who did not practice yesterday.

Moore leads the Ravens with four interceptions and nine pass deflections, and is second on the team with 86 tackles.

"It hurts your feelings to hear that [about Moore]. You think this is a business? Not at a time like this," coach Ted Marchibroda said. "He gave us so much during the entire year. He's kept playing, he's had a good year, right to the very end. He's a warrior."

"It's a big loss for our team," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said. "You know [Moore] is going to give you everything he has on every play. But some injuries you just can't overcome. Nobody who plays in this league has a red "S" on their chest.

"It's time for some of the younger players to step up and start playing some football. There's no better way to learn than by going against one of the best."

Moore, whose knee was heavily wrapped yesterday as he fought back tears while discussing his setback, is familiar with injuries. As a rookie, seventh-round draft pick with the New York Jets in 1989, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the preseason finale. He missed the entire season.

He also missed the entire 1991 season as a Miami Dolphin with a knee injury, and after signing with Cleveland in 1992, Moore finished that season on injured reserve with a separated shoulder. He had started every game since.

Moore, who signed a four-yeardeal in March, said he is determined to come back once again.

"I've been blessed to play for nine years, and hopefully I'll be blessed to play for two or three more years. I'm very confident that I can come back," Moore said.

"I'm not a quitter. I'm a fighter. I'm a true football player who goes out there and plays the game aggressively and with an attitude. That's how I'm going to approach this injury, and that's how I'm going to come back."

NOTES: Testaverde pulled himself out of yesterday's practice after about 40 minutes, after he felt a twinge in his tender left knee during individual drills. Backup Eric Zeier took the rest of the snaps in Testaverde's place. Testaverde, listed as probable for Sunday's game, said he expects to practice today and to start on Sunday. The Ravens filled out their 53-man roster by signing two offensive linemen. Alex Bernstein, 6 feet 3, 325 pounds, was signed off the Ravens' practice squad, and Mike Flynn, 6-3, 295, was signed off Jacksonville's practice roster. Flynn was cut by the Ravens during the preseason. Marchibroda is hopeful that safety Rondell Jones can play on Sunday, and he added that Bam Morris could start in place of Jay Graham at running back. Marchibroda said Graham (ankle) looked tentative at yesterday's practice.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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