Ravens' Green might sit out Tight end doubtful with dislocated pinkie

November 06, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens tight end Eric Green has been listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders because of a dislocated left pinkie suffered during practice Wednesday.

Green injured the finger after getting his hand caught in a jersey while blocking on a running play. It was initially believed to be jammed, but because of the twisting way in which it was hurt, Green ended up needing surgery Wednesday night.

In the operation, performed by team physician Dr. C. T. Moorman III and Dr. Andy Eglseder, a hand specialist, at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the bone had to be extricated from soft tissue that had twisted around it.

Green's finger was put in a cast to hold it in place. A final decision on his status will be made today, said Moorman, director of sports medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

But Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said yesterday that it would be difficult to get Green ready to play against Oakland.

The loss of Green would have a significant impact on the Ravens (2-6) and Marchibroda, whose job is in jeopardy after four straight losses. Green is one of the NFL's best blocking tight ends and one of the team's biggest receiving weapons inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

If Green doesn't play, 11-year veteran Brian Kinchen would start in his place and second-year player A. J. Ofodile would become the second tight end. Ofodile has been inactive in five of the team's first eight games.

Marchibroda said he was initially told that Green would miss only one game if he didn't play Sunday, but might miss more if he reinjured it during the contest.

"This doesn't help us," Marchibroda said. "I hate to lose a guy like Eric. We just went through the last three weeks without him. I don't know if it's a very serious injury, but there is a strong possibility he may not play. We hope he can; he is a big part of our ballclub."

This could be another setback in a year that started out extremely well for Green. A 6-foot-5, 285-pound veteran in his ninth year, Green reported to training camp in excellent shape and had 14 catches for 243 yards and one touchdown before he ruptured an air sac in his lung on Oct. 11 after making a catch in the first half against the Tennessee Oilers.

He missed games against Pittsburgh and Green Bay, but returned Sunday in the Ravens' 45-19 loss to Jacksonville. Green had four receptions for 43 yards against the Jaguars but also fumbled twice, one of which was returned for an 83-yard touchdown.

Green had a cast on his hand and his arm in a sling yesterday morning. He didn't comment as he was running out of the training room door to see team doctors.

"We'll know more about it and his status once the doctors get a look at it," Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said last night.

Kinchen, 6-2 and 240 pounds, has six receptions for 72 yards and has been called on several times in the past three years to relieve Green. Kinchen, also the team's snapper on special teams, is ready to answer the call again.

He isn't quite as good a blocker as Green, but Kinchen has some of the best hands on the team. On Aug. 3, Kinchen suffered an injury similar to Green's when he tore a tendon in his thumb that limited his playing time for the first four regular-season games.

"They haven't told me I'm starting, but the same thing happened to me. I can't imagine he'll be out there," Kinchen said. "I'm just happy to play. That's why you prepare, that's why you play the game."

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Oakland Raiders

Site: Ravens stadium

When: Sunday, 1: 01 p.m.

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

Tickets: Sold out

# Line: Raiders by 2 1/2

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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