R. Lewis is doubtful for Sunday vs. Colts

Linebacker dislocated left shoulder vs. Browns

Pro Football

October 10, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis missed practice yesterday and is considered doubtful for Sunday's game at Indianapolis against the Colts.

Lewis partially dislocated his left shoulder last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and is scheduled to sit out today's practice as well. By listing him as doubtful, the team is giving him only a 25 percent chance of playing.

Lewis tops the Ravens with 69 tackles- which doubles nearly every teammate - and has recorded two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. It's a strong possibility the Ravens will have to slow down the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning without one of the best defensive players in the league.

"This is the next big challenge for us," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're going to see how this team responds if indeed Ray cannot go. How great would it be for this team to step up on the road under those circumstances and come away with a win? That would be huge."

Lewis received treatment on the shoulder for most of the afternoon and was not available to comment.

The Ravens reiterated that it's not a long-term injury yet remain worried about risking Lewis on the RCA Dome's artificial surface.

"We're hopeful if we err on the side of caution that it's just a one-week deal," Billick said.

Lewis has started 63 consecutive games and hasn't been sidelined since Oct. 11, 1998. Last season, he missed two weeks of practice with an infection in his elbow and never skipped a game.

That's why his teammates are not ruling him out for Sunday.

"Knowing Ray, I think he'll be out there," said outside linebacker Peter Boulware, who endured two seasons worth of problems with a dislocated shoulder. "We've talked about it. I told him he'll be able to work through it and be able to play."

The Colts agree with Boulware and are preparing as if Lewis is going to start.

"I don't know who they have that is going to be able to tell him not to play," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "And I don't know who they could put in there and play with that type of energy and instincts."

If Lewis is sidelined, the Ravens would replace him with the combination of Bernardo Harris and Bart Scott. Outside linebacker Cornell Brown also could see time on the inside.

But the prospect of losing Lewis hasn't caused Billick to lose his sense of humor.

"I'm never prepared to play without Ray, but we have to," Billick said. "If Tony Dungy were any kind of sport, he would sit Peyton down. I mean, fair is fair."

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