Finger Kinchen's latest bad break Back from thumb injury, he's hurt covering punt

Ravens Notebook

September 15, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Brian Kinchen's strange, hard-luck 1998 season continues.

Just when the Ravens' veteran tight end/snapper had worked his way back into the lineup after overcoming a torn tendon in his left thumb, Kinchen suffered another bad break -- on his left index finger.

Not long after Kinchen had snapped on a first-quarter extra point, marking his first special teams snap since early in camp, he fractured his finger covering a punt.

"I don't even know how it happened. I hit a guy and blacked out. My main concern was getting off the field," Kinchen said. "Once I did that and my head cleared, I looked at my finger and it was mauled.

"Just another freak thing," added Kinchen, who said he had not missed a practice in 10 years and had never broken a bone before this season. "I figured one [injury] in a year was enough."

Kinchen, who was replaced Sunday on short-snapping duty by long snapper Harper Le Bel, had the finger in a splint. Kinchen said he could have continued to snap against the New York Jets.

Kinchen also dealt with some unusual circumstances last spring, when he tested positive for a substance that was believed to have enhanced his testosterone level.

He appealed the test result, and the test was thrown out after an independent analysis revealed it to be erroneous.

"I've never tested positive before," said Kinchen, an 11-year veteran. "I had been using creatine, which a lot of people use around here, and [the league] thought maybe it was spiked with something. I don't know how that happened, but it was scary."

Defense, defense

The Ravens' defense is going into Jacksonville on a wave of momentum. After limiting Jerome Bettis to 1.8 yards per carry in his worst day as a Pittsburgh Steeler and negating the impact of quarterback Kordell Stewart in a season-opening loss, they regrouped after a sloppy first half to allow the Jets only 60 yards after intermission on Sunday.

Through two games, the Ravens are tied for the NFL lead with Minnesota with five interceptions, and the Ravens' turnover ratio of plus-5 also ties Seattle for the league lead. They are allowing just 86 rushing yards per game.

Next up is Jacksonville, which boasts one of the premier offenses.

"We've got a lot of confidence, but the thing for us is to keep improving and keep playing with the same intensity," said defensive tackle James Jones. "We're only as good as how we play this Sunday."

Moore shoulders load

Veteran strong safety Stevon Moore recovered from a dislocated left shoulder just in time to start in the season opener. On Sunday, Moore watched second-year free safety Kim Herring go down with the same injury.

Moore showed no ill effects of his training camp injury on Sunday. He had two solo tackles, an assist and a pass deflection, and on one of his solo tackles, Moore blasted the Jets' Curtis Martin with one of the best hits of the day.

"You can't play not to get hurt, because that's when you get hurt," Moore said. "I'm pleased with how I played on the turf [at Giants Stadium]. I've got no swelling [in his shoulder or his knees]. Looks like a full recovery."

Stover still kicking

Ted Marchibroda said he has decided to stick with kicker Matt Stover for at least another week.

Stover, who missed three field-goal attempts on opening day, went 1-for-2 against the Jets and drew a sideline tirade from Marchibroda after missing a 44-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Et cetera

The Ravens are dealing with a rash of hamstring injuries. On Sunday, pulled hamstrings knocked receivers Patrick Johnson and James Roe onto the inactive list, which left the Ravens with only four active wide-outs. Also bothered by hamstring problems are safety Ralph Staten and middle linebacker Ray Lewis. Tight end Eric Green is averaging 15.9 yards on seven receptions, while wide receiver Floyd Turner is averaging 22.5 yards on four catches. The Ravens have recorded six sacks while surrendering only one. Approximately 3,000 tickets remain for the Sept. 27 home game against Cincinnati.

Pub Date: 9/15/98

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