Brookins is ready to play again

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Running back to get some time vs. Vikings

January 03, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

For the first time in a while, the Ravens should have their full arsenal of running backs heading into Monday night's showdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jason Brookins is expected to play and will take his first meaningful practice snaps with the offense today after missing four games with a broken bone in his right foot.

Brookins practiced last week but was inactive for Saturday night's loss at Tampa Bay. The Ravens will work him into the game plan during practice the next three days.

"It's our hope that he will play," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Right now there is no reason why he can't play. He's medically cleared and working out. We've had him stick around these couple of days to continue to condition.

"If I can get him 10-15 plays, maybe four or five carries, that would be good. If indeed we are to make the playoffs, I don't want his first experience to be in the playoff game."

Brookins and starter Terry Allen will both enter Monday night's game healthy for just the second time in the past 2 1/2 months - the previous time, Allen missed most of the game after breaking a bone in his hand on his first carry.

The two have combined for 1,061 yards this season, with Brookins gaining just 11 more than Allen on one less carry.

"Part of our success, every team in the league and in the AFC in particular, is being able to run the ball in the playoffs," Billick said. "Certainly we've increased our chances of running the ball effectively by having the full stable of backs, and the difference in the two; Jason being a punishing style runner, while Terry is going to slash and cut you a little bit differently. It will be good to have the full complement back."

Injury update

The Ravens have one of their shortest and most promising injury reports of the season heading into Monday night's game.

Gary Baxter (thigh), Carnell Lake (thigh), Joe Maese (leg) and James Trapp (groin) are all questionable, with Maese's injury the most serious. The only other person is Shannon Sharpe (knee), who is probable.

For the Vikings starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper (knee) will not play and backup Todd Bouman (thumb) is questionable.

Spergon Wynn started Sunday's Vikings loss to the Green Bay Packers for Bouman, and will likely start again Monday night unless Bouman's thumb gets drastically better fast.

Bouman said his thumb was worse a couple of days ago than it was after injuring it two weeks ago.

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