Stokley questionable for Monday's game

Ravens notebook

Receiver misses practice because of sprained ankle

Johnson may replace him

Pro Football

September 27, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Receiver Brandon Stokley missed yesterday's rain-drenched practice and is questionable for Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos.

Stokley sprained his ankle in the Ravens' 25-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 15 but was able to practice earlier this week.

"There is no structural damage on it," said Stokley, who leads the Ravens with 10 catches for 140 yards. "I'm just trying to take it slow right now. I got a cortisone shot [Wednesday], so we'll see how it responds to that.

"I kind of rushed it Monday and re-hurt it. I want to be patient, but I want to get out there. If there is any way I can run and cut on it, then I'm going to play on it Monday night. If feels a lot better [yesterday] morning than it did the day before."

If Stokley cannot play, rookie Ron Johnson would likely start in his place. Johnson has the team's lone touchdown reception this year.

"Brandon is going to be back," Johnson said. "He's resting, and that is what we need him to do. As far as my playing, whenever I get a chance I'm going to do whatever I can do to make an impact on the game."

Fellow starting receiver Travis Taylor is also battling an injured shoulder. With a banged-up receiving corps, the Ravens relied on a two-tight end, two-running back set with Johnson as the lone receiver against the Buccaneers. The formation will likely return against the Broncos.

"We feel very good about our tight end corps," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Brooks gets shot

In just the third start of his four-year career, right tackle Ethan Brooks will get a chance to prove himself against his former team.

Brooks spent all of training camp last season with the Broncos but was waived on the final cutdown day and subsequently missed the rest of the year.

"My short experience there last year was not the fondest of my career," Brooks said. "So it will be nice to redeem myself and show them what I'm all about."

Brooks will face end Trevor Pryce.

"I haven't really faced him before because last year he was inside at the tackle position. He's a good player, but I'm feeling pretty confident," Brooks said.

Familiar face

In his first game back at his old position, left guard Edwin Mulitalo will compete against a familiar face.

Broncos defensive tackle Lional Dalton spent his first four seasons with the Ravens and often faced Mulitalo in practice.

"I've never seen him go full tilt," Mulitalo said. "So that is going to be exposed during the game. As far as practicing, you don't take that practice speed to the game."

Mulitalo has spent the past two weeks practicing at left guard and will make his return to his former position for the first time this season.

"It's going along very well," Mulitalo said. "I just have to get my bearings right, but it's my natural spot."

No interceptions

Not many games ended last season without rookie free safety Ed Reed making an interception for the Miami Hurricanes. Reed had nine interceptions in 11 games, but neither he nor his teammates have picked off a pass in the first two games this year.

"I know my responsibility, know my job. I'm just trying to get a better understanding of it and know my teammates more," Reed said.

Second-class status?

With his team winless and the Broncos undefeated, Billick recognizes the Ravens' second-class status Monday night.

"This is obviously a platform for the Denver Broncos," Billick said. "I don't even know if ABC is going to come by this week. We don't even get the mug shot. But that's OK, we understand that. No one takes offense at it. It is what it is, and we're thrilled to have a Monday night game early in the season that the fans can get excited about."

End zone

Broncos quarterback Brian Griese injured his ankle Thursday night tripping over his dog and is probable for Monday night's game. "I sprained it last night on the stairs actually," Griese said. "I was walking down the stairs and my dog came barreling down the stairs after me, clipped me, and I kind of twisted my ankle on the stairs." If Griese can't go, veteran Steve Beuerlein would take his place. ... Terry Jones (hand), Jamal Lewis (ribs) and James Trapp (chest) all practiced yesterday. The Ravens moved the practice to the artificial turf because of the rain.

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