Ravens' Harbaugh questionable for Jets Bone chip may be old

Jackson and Woodson more likely to play Sunday

September 08, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The early injury prognoses yesterday for the Ravens' game Sunday against the New York Jets were favorable for starting wide receiver Michael Jackson and cornerback Rod Woodson, but starting quarterback Jim Harbaugh's status is questionable.

The initial diagnosis after Sunday's game was that Harbaugh chipped a bone in the ring finger of his right (throwing) hand when knocked to the ground by cornerback Carnell Lake in the second quarter of the Ravens' 20-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harbaugh, who completed four of seven passes for 33 yards, did not return to the game.

The veteran quarterback was examined by hand specialist Dr. Andrew Eglseder yesterday and a CT scan revealed that the bone chip may have been old and the sprained ligament was from a previous trauma.

Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said there was some discoloration and swelling in the finger yesterday morning and the team would protect the finger by immobilizing it for the next two days. The team watched game film yesterday, and the Ravens are off today.

"We're trying to immobilize it now," Harbaugh said. "Hopefully, the swelling will go down and I can get out there Wednesday and Thursday, then for the game Sunday. I think my chances are good. I'm real optimistic I'll be ready to play. I didn't come here to watch. I can't let a little finger keep me out. I'm sure the coaches will do whatever they feel helps their chances to win."

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said it is highly unlikely Harbaugh would not practice all week and then start Sunday.

"But Jim is our guy if he can go," Marchibroda said.

If he can't, then the Ravens will start Eric Zeier, who played well against the Steelers, completing 16 of 27 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown.

"The final evaluation is winning, and that's how you determine how a quarterback played," Zeier said. "We didn't win, so that means we've got to get better. I think Jim's status is day-to-day, but I always prepare as if I'm going to start. That way, once you get in, you step into it a lot quicker."

Woodson said he felt back spasms in the fourth quarter after helping to tackle Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. Woodson left the game with 10 minutes, 22 seconds remaining. Tessendorf said yesterday that Woodson had a lumbar back strain and spasms. "I would say he is day to day," Tessendorf said. "I would love to see those spasms settle down before he goes out there."

Woodson was walking slowly yesterday. He planned to practice with the team Thursday.

"All injuries are always worse the next day," said Woodson, who had two tackles and knocked down one pass Sunday. "I've played with this before. I'm not worried about the pain. It's how much I can fight through it. I've gotten treatment and medication. Now, I'll see how it feels. I believe I'll be ready Sunday."

X-rays were negative on Jackson's ribs, but he does have a rib contusion. If the soreness does not go away within seven to 10 days, Tessendorf said the team will take another X-ray.

Jackson has played with a similar injury. He expects to wear protective pads around his ribs, similar to the ones quarterbacks wear. Jackson had six catches for 51 yards against the Steelers.

"I would probably say he would be ready," Marchibroda said.

Jackson said: "Just as long as they don't ask me to play today, I think I'll be fine."

Next for Ravens

Opponent: New York Jets

Site: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When: Sunday, 1: 01 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Off the board

Pub Date: 9/08/98

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