Ja. Lewis dislocates elbow

Ravens rookie hurt in 'Skins scrimmage, will miss 4-6 weeks

July 29, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER - The much-anticipated debut of first-round draft choice Jamal Lewis was limited to one short run last night, and ended with a dislocated left elbow that will keep the Ravens' rookie running back out four to six weeks.

Stopped for a 1-yard gain on the Ravens' third offensive play of last night's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins, Lewis had his left arm hyperextended by an unidentified defensive player.

"I was trying to get more yards and had my arm on the ground," Lewis said after the scrimmage at FedEx Field was cut short by heavy rain and lightning with the Ravens leading 3-0. "Somebody rolled over on it. I had the ball in my right hand and was trying to stay off the ground."

If there was a silver lining in the injury, it was in the timing and severity.

Lewis, wearing a splint afterward, said he initially feared he had broken his arm.

"They put it in place on the sideline," he said. "The good thing is, it happened early, and I'll be back for the opener or the second game."

Ravens coach Brian Billick said team doctors are optimistic Lewis might return as soon as the Sept. 3 opener at Pittsburgh against the Steelers, but said he cannot have any contact until then.

"In the next week or 10 days, he won't be doing a whole lot," Billick said. "But after that, he'll be able to work out. He just won't be in position to take any light contact.

"He won't be able to take a hit on that thing until the season starts."

Lewis, the No. 5 pick in the draft, had an impressive first week of training camp, flashing breakaway speed with the ability to catch the ball.

Missing the next two weeks of camp will slow his expected progression into the starting lineup.

"If we didn't need to do this, we wouldn't," Billick said of the two-a-day camp routine. "We'd just get up, have a meeting or two, go play golf and come back and show up for the opener.

"You need that for timing. You need to get a feel for the system. You only get so much watching others do it, so it hurts his progression."

The injury is believed similar to the dislocation suffered by linebacker Ray Lewis two years ago. Lewis missed two full games with his injury.

The Ravens now face the prospect of finishing camp without either of their two first-round picks. Wide receiver Travis Taylor, the 10th pick in the draft, remains out in a contract dispute, and talks have broken off.

There was a reminder of that behind the Ravens' bench, where a banner read, "C'mon 89, play fair."

Taylor will wear No. 89 for the Ravens when the impasse is resolved.

It was a night of diminishing returns for the Ravens. Billick and Redskins coach Norv Turner elected to call off the scrimmage after heavy rain pelted the field for 30 minutes.

"It wouldn't have been smart [to go back out]," Billick said.

In the one offensive series the Ravens got, backup quarterback Trent Dilfer completed 5 of 10 passes for 68 yards against the Redskins' reserves. He threw a 17-yard completion to Brandon Stokley, an 18-yarder to Billy Davis and a 19-yarder to tight end Ben Coates.

The throw to Coates moved the Ravens to the Redskins' 12. After running back Jay Graham lost a yard and Dilfer threw an incompletion, Matt Stover kicked a 30-yard field goal, the only score in the scrimmage.

"The thing I was most pleased with, [Dilfer] did some subtle things, getting guys moving around," Billick said. "He's beginning to pick up more and more of the system."

On defense, strong safety Corey Harris intercepted rookie quarterback Todd Husak and returned the pass 14 yards to end Washington's one offensive series.

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