R. Lewis reports elbow problem

Tendinitis diagnosed, but odds of playing Sunday appear good

October 05, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ray Lewis' ailment may have changed, but the prognosis for his playing Sunday has remained the same.

On Wednesday, Lewis missed practice with soreness from what he believed to be a virus. Yesterday, the Ravens' All-Pro middle linebacker was diagnosed with elbow tendinitis and sat out his second straight workout.

Though he was listed as questionable on the injury report, he seemed to be leaning toward playing against the Tennessee Titans.

"It's a little tendinitis in the elbow. That's about it," Lewis said. "Isn't that amazing?"

When asked how he would personally rate his status, Lewis said: "I'm just questionable. It [the elbow] is all right, but it's not the best. So, I'll deal with it."

Team officials said Lewis wanted to practice, but the Ravens decided against it.

"He still has soreness, and we don't want to irritate it," trainer Bill Tessendorf said. "We'll evaluate it [today]. If he feels better, we'll put him out there."

Lewis, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year last season, said the injury occurred Sunday in Denver. He has been one of the team's sturdiest players, starting 46 straight regular-season games, a string that dates to October 1998.

That's why his teammates have faith that, when they suit up on Sunday, they will have their leading tackler there in the middle.

"I'm quite sure Ray will be ready," cornerback Duane Starks said. "He's probably a little tight right now. He'll definitely be back. He's not going to miss a game. You'll have to chain him to his own car before he missed the game."

Though Lewis hasn't practiced this week, the team has refused to show concern publicly.

"He's got a chance to rest for two days. He'll be fine and we'll move on," defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said. "If he's not, the other guys practiced their tail off and they'll play that way."

If Ray Lewis can't play, the Ravens would likely replace him with a combination of rookie Ed Hartwell and three-year veteran Brad Jackson.

In yesterday's practice, they primarily went with Hartwell, the team's fourth-round draft pick last April. Hartwell is confident.

"If you couldn't play, they wouldn't have me here," Hartwell said. "In the past, I've had a lot of success. At this level, I want to get out there and want to definitely have success."

In addition to Lewis, the Ravens have listed defensive ends Rob Burnett (knee) and Michael McCrary (knee), tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo (knee) as questionable. Only Ayanbadejo and Burnett practiced yesterday, with Burnett limited in his workout.

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