Ravens' Isaia may have torn Achilles' MRI could tell tale

bad luck dogs guard

July 27, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens left guard Sale Isaia is expected to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam today after injuring his left Achilles' tendon yesterday on a running play at training camp, an injury that could cause some major shuffling on the offensive line.

Coach Ted Marchibroda said he didn't think the tendon was severed, but a torn Achilles' would put the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Isaia out for the season. Isaia missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee suffered during a noncontact drill on the first day of training camp.

Yesterday was only the third day of camp for the veterans and only the fourth workout.

"We don't know the extent of the injury, but there is a possibility it could be torn," Marchibroda said. "He had said it was bothering him before yesterday."

The first sign of Isaia having any leg problems occurred Saturday afternoon when he had trouble planting, and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa constantly overpowered him during pass-protection drills. Isaia reported the injury, received treatment, but apparently thought it was just a sore Achilles'.

He went through most of yesterday's practice before falling to the ground after a running play. Isaia seemed to stand with no problem, but was driven from the field on a golf cart.

Isaia was unavailable to comment, but his teammates expressed disappointment.

"He's handling it pretty well," said left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. "I don't know if I would be handling it like that. He worked his butt off to get back and this whole thing is unfortunate. As soon as he went down, I said, 'Not Sale again.'

"But he knows these things happen. It's part of the job. He's just hoping it's not too bad, just sore. It's a tough situation, though, because it was his starting job to win."

The left guard position was expected to be one of the most competitive in training camp, with Isaia challenging second-year player Ben Cavil. Marchibroda named Isaia the starter when camp opened, but Cavil had demonstrated he was a better pass blocker.

Isaia Cavil now will work with the first unit, according to Marchibroda, and 6-6, 306-pound James Atkins will move from backing up Ogden at left tackle to reserve duty at left guard. Alex Bernstein, the No. 2 right guard, might also get in work on both sides.

The Ravens also could move starting center Wally Williams, in the midst of a holdout he says will last two weeks, to left guard and keep second-year player Jeff Mitchell at center, though there are questions about Mitchell being an effective run blocker.

JTC Either way, the Ravens have to get more production out of the position than a year ago, when Leo Goeas was the starter and Cavil had to be hurried into the starting lineup after signing on Aug. 24, seven days before Week 1.

"You hate to see a teammate get hurt," Cavil said. "Sale has put in a lot of time coming back and working with this organization. But we all know we've got to step it up now. My frame of mind hasn't changed. I'm still going out there to win this job. It's not mine. It's still open. I don't want anybody giving me a thing."

Ravens camp update

Biggest day: Tight end Eric Green was all over the field, catching two long passes for touchdowns, including a 40-yarder from Jim Harbaugh despite tight cover from linebacker Ray Lewis. "His best practice day in three years," said Ravens coach Ted


Classy move: Defensive tackle Tony Siragusa consoled offensive guard Sale Isaia after Isaia went down with an Achilles' tendon injury. Isaia has been injured in the first four days of the past two training camps.

Hidden trick: Keep an eye on this play for the regular season: Harbaugh fakes a handoff to running back Errict Rhett going left and then bootlegs right. Harbaugh wasn't touched when the

Ravens ran the play for a touchdown yesterday.

Crushing block award: Left tackle Jonathan Ogden, in blocking down on defensive tackle Chartric Darby, collapsed the entire right side of the defense for running back Jay Graham to gain 12 yards.

Dirty pants award: Rookie defensive tackle Lional Dalton crushed offensive lineman Brandon Dyson so badly on a pass rush that it looked like a scene out of professional wrestling.

Golden Gloves: For the first time in this training camp, 6-foot-7, 350-pound right offensive tackle Orlando Brown did not get in a fight. Honest.

Quotable: "I tell Ozzie this all the time. He was great, caught a lot of passes, but he didn't block anybody. That's why the Cleveland Browns never had a running game against the Pittsburgh Steelers." -- Green, joking about Ravens vice president and former Cleveland Browns All-Pro tight end Ozzie Newsome.

Pub Date: 7/27/98

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