Bruised ankle may keep safety Herring out of Titans game

Harris would get start

Dilfer better, but upset, after mild concussion

Ravens notebook

January 02, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' highly publicized defense may be without one of its most unheralded starters.

Strong safety Kim Herring, who bruised his left ankle Sunday against Denver, is doubtful to play at Tennessee in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game. The four-year veteran was the team's seventh-leading tackler and broke up 11 passes during the regular season.

Limping around the locker room yesterday, Herring said the swelling still had not gone down.

"The movement was not all that great," he said. "It's painful because of the stiffness in it."

But there was some good news from yesterday's magnetic resonance imaging exam, which revealed no tendon or ligament problems.

"It basically shows bruising at this point in time," Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said. "That's what we were hoping for."

The Ravens would replace Herring with Corey Harris, who filled in for Herring the entire second half of Sunday's game. Harris is the most versatile player on the team, returning kickoffs, leading the Ravens with 26 special teams tackles and going in as an extra defensive back on passing situations.

If Harris is the starter, Ravens coach Brian Billick brought up Anthony Poindexter as one who could take over Harris' job in the nickel and dime packages. Poindexter has been inactive for five of the past six games.

"We're going to look at the some of the ancillary things that Corey does on special teams," Billick said, "and see if we can get some next-level guys in there to make sure we don't wear Corey out."

Dilfer recovering

Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer underwent neuro-psych tests and reported he felt better from his mild concussion Sunday. But he did become emotional when discussing the hit by Denver's Billy Jenkins, who led with his helmet.

"He's going to be fined," Dilfer said. "[It] should've been a flag."

Hold on, with two hands

Jamal Lewis' dives have caused Billick's nerves to jump.

On Sunday, Lewis jumped over a pile and extended the ball with one hand across the goal line for his 1-yard touchdown. Lewis, though, had an awkward landing.

"I hope it hurt because I don't like it when he sticks the ball out there," Billick said. "He has some great vertical [leaping ability], and that's an advantage to us. He's done it well. But he'll learn. At some point, doing it that way might cost him whether it's getting hit in the face or someone knocks that ball out just before it crosses."

Steadman appreciation

Billick opened his news conference talking about John Steadman, the longtime Sun sports columnist who died yesterday.

"I am a newcomer to Baltimore, but it didn't take me long to be out and about the community and dealing with the sports people in Baltimore and not learn about John's passion for Baltimore and passion for Baltimore sports," Billick said. "I speak for everybody in this organization in passing our condolences and prayers onto his family."

End zone

The Ravens are 12-3 in their past 15 games against AFC Central opponents. ... Kicker Matt Stover didn't convert a field goal after hitting one in 26 straight games. ... The Ravens haven't lost since Oct. 29, when they fell, 9-6, to Pittsburgh.

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