Weaver sidelined rest of week with high ankle sprain

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Rookie defensive end one of four starters missing from defense

Pro Football

August 07, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have suffered another hit to their thinning defense.

Rookie defensive end Tony Weaver, the team's second-round pick, sustained a high right ankle sprain and will miss the rest of this week's training camp practices.

"Anytime it's a high ankle sprain, there's always a concern," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Weaver limped off the field toward the end of Monday morning's practice, but the extent of his injury wasn't known until yesterday. He has been fitted with a protective boot and is officially listed as day-to-day.

"If you immobilize it early, you have a better chance of settling it down," Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

To replace Weaver, the Ravens shifted Kelly Gregg from nose tackle to left defensive end and moved rookie Maake Kemoeatu into the starting nose tackle spot.

The Ravens' defense is now missing four starters.

Outside linebacker Peter Boulware (ankle) and defensive end Michael McCrary (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list, and cornerback Gary Baxter sat out after injuring his hamstring on Monday. Ravens officials said they do not have a set timetable on the return of either McCrary or Boulware.

So, is Billick concerned that his defense will have a tougher time gelling with so many starters out?

"Sure, it makes me nervous," he said. "But there's not a lot I can do about it. An injury is an injury."

J. Lewis to sit Friday

Jamal Lewis' first test will be delayed.

Billick said the Ravens running back would not play in Friday's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions. Lewis has not taken a hit since blowing out his left knee last August.

"He looks quicker, faster with every practice," Billick said. "We're easing toward giving him more contact."

A. Modell's prediction

After watching his first practice in this year's training camp, Ravens owner Art Modell delivered a prediction.

"This Baltimore Ravens team will be significantly better in the second half than the first half of the season," Modell said. "This I guarantee. I'm not ruling out the first half. I think this team will surprise a lot of people, including me."

Modell, 77, suffered a mild stroke on July 20, forcing him to miss the start of camp for the first time in his 42-year ownership.

Hartwell not worried

The addition of inside linebacker Bernardo Harris has not brought added pressure to Edgerton Hartwell.

A first-year starter, Hartwell intends to learn as much as possible from his veteran backup and return the favor by teaching Harris the defensive system. But that doesn't mean Hartwell isn't ready for some competition for his starting job.

"You never want to give up your starting position," Hartwell said. "I'll fight to the end to keep that. But I don't expect him to come in and lay back either. I expect him to push for it and try to play."

End zone

Approximately 800 tickets remain for Friday's game. ... A new addition to Ravens Stadium is the two "Walls of Honor." The monuments are on the north side of the stadium and will carry the names of approximately 25,000 season-ticket holders who have purchased permanent seat licenses. ... Reserve offensive lineman Orlando Bobo signed with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday, becoming the 21st player from last year's Ravens to go elsewhere this season.

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