Thumb's up on Flynn's status

Ravens notebook

Injury not too severe, center expected to play

Pro Football

October 30, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Center Mike Flynn had his right hand examined by a specialist yesterday after he tore a ligament in his thumb during Sunday's 18-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The injury does not appear to be too serious and should not keep Flynn out of Sunday's game at Pittsburgh. Flynn left the Jaguars game after a bad snap in the fourth quarter but returned three plays later.

Flynn likely will need some type of surgery in the off-season.

"We feel pretty good. I want to be careful until we get the full prognosis from the hand specialist," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It is our understanding that this is probably something that can wait to the off-season. He has no problems gripping it at all; he has lots of strength there. What he can't do is extend it and raise it up. So he's not at risk of damaging it further. Certainly we wouldn't put him in that position. It will make the rehab for him longer. But he's comfortable with that."

Trainer Bill Tessendorf said the injury should not hinder Flynn from snapping. If it does, Billick said he still might play Flynn anyway, switching him to guard.

"If it were prohibitive enough, we could put him at guard and let Orlando Bobo or Casey Rabach come in and play center," Billick said.

Flynn played right guard last season before switching to center after Jeff Mitchell signed with the Carolina Panthers. He and left tackle Jonathan Ogden are the only two Ravens linemen to start every game at their respective positions this season.

Another reunion

For the second straight week, Ravens safety Carnell Lake will be facing a former team.

Lake played his first 10 seasons in Pittsburgh before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will make his second return to the city Sunday when the Ravens play the Steelers, though it will come in a different stadium from what Lake and teammate Rod Woodson are used to.

The Steelers opened their new stadium, Heinz Field, this season. Woodson played his first 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, too, at Three Rivers Stadium.

"I'm interested to see if it is still as live as it was when I was there" Lake said. "I'm sure it will be. I'm not doubting the Pittsburgh fans."

Jeers and cheers

The Jaguars were called for four false starts and a delay-of-game penalty Sunday thanks in large part to the Ravens' fans, according to Billick.

But it was not all perfect between the Ravens and the PSINet Stadium crowd, as boos came down after the Ravens fell behind by 11 points in the fourth quarter.

"I couldn't hear [offensive coordinator] Matt Cavanaugh in the headset because of the booing," Billick said. "But fans pay a lot of money for those tickets. And there was a time there when they had a right to boo. You don't like it, no one does. It doesn't help, trust me. But they turned back around. They were into it, and that affected the game."

Stokley perseveres

Still playing with an injured right knee, receiver Brandon Stokley had no catches Sunday, a week after having his best performance of the season.

Stokley caught a season-high five passes for 68 yards against Cleveland but was shut out against the Jaguars. He originally hurt the knee leading into the Cincinnati game on Sept. 23. Travis Taylor has started for Stokley ever since.

"I'm just trying to go out there even though my knee is not 100 percent yet," Stokley said. "Each week, it's getting better and better.

"Patrick [Johnson] is done [until December], and we're low on receivers. When one is down, you have to step up. I'm feeling comfortable in the slot right now."

Vickers' versatility

Billick again applauded the effort of Kipp Vickers, who played right tackle, left guard and right guard against Jacksonville.

Vickers started at right tackle for the first time this season, replaced left guard Edwin Mulitalo for a few plays and took over for Bennie Anderson at right guard for a few other plays.

Billick likened the switches to a basketball player moving from power forward to point guard.

"That's probably a lame analogy," Billick said. "But the mechanics of right side, left side, who you block ... the techniques on the same play that you have to set your feet and use your hands at guard are totally different than they are at tackle."

Contrite Coughlin

Enraged Sunday by a critical replay call that favored the Ravens, Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin ripped the officials for making a "gutless" call.

Upon further review, Coughlin said he was prepared to apologize, according to the Associated Press.

Coughlin watched replays of Qadry Ismail's disputed touchdown catch and, just as referee Jeff Triplette ruled, they didn't conclusively show the ball hitting the ground.

"In all honesty, I can't see it," Coughlin said yesterday.

Extra points

The Ravens gave game balls to Ismail (offense), Ray Lewis (defense) and Anthony Mitchell (special teams). ... Tight end Shannon Sharpe's second annual "Gridiron Halloween Party" for Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake will take place tonight at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor. About 30 Ravens players will be there.

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