R. Lewis throws doubt on status

Ravens linebacker listed questionable for Sunday

`I'm still not me,' he says

October 24, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ray Lewis was listed as questionable for Sunday's showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the All-Pro linebacker was subdued yesterday and didn't sound confident about playing.

Nursing a partially dislocated left shoulder, Lewis has been sidelined for the past two games. He said he probably will not practice this week and won't know if he can suit up until Sunday.

"It's truly going to be a game-time decision," Lewis said. "I'm still not me."

The Ravens had been optimistic about Lewis returning Sunday, but there was a different tone about his status yesterday. The biggest hurdles for Lewis remain his range of motion, which he called "terrible," and the continuing pain.

"The concern is long term," Lewis said. "If I go in the way I'm feeling now, and it pops back out, then I'm out another six or seven weeks and we have no chance of doing things we're trying to do this year."

Lewis said the final decision isn't going to be his to make.

"Brian [Billick, coach] has made it clear that it wouldn't be up to me," Lewis said. "If they left it up to me, I would be playing. That's my mentality."

Lewis' availability will come down to Billick and trainer Bill Tessendorf.

If Lewis can't play, the Ravens will start veteran Bernardo Harris, who had nine tackles and an interception in Sunday's 17-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lewis has not missed more than two consecutive games in his seven-year career.

But the Ravens stressed they won't play Lewis just because first place in the AFC North is on the line.

"I don't want him to make a mistake of pushing him back before he's ready simply because of the circumstance," Billick said. "We can't be stupid with Ray."

Lewis is resigned to the fact that he won't get rid of the injury this season.

"Will I ever be 100 percent? Probably not," Lewis said. "The way I'm sitting now, it [his shoulder] wouldn't give me what I need."

When Lewis does return, he indicated that it would be without a protective harness.

"I can't go out there as a one-armed bandit, playing on all these painkillers," Lewis said. "That won't help me get done what I need to get done. If I had a harness that could take all the pain away, I would try. But they don't."

The Ravens are 1-1 without Lewis this year. With Jerome Bettis out with a knee sprain, Lewis' speed would help negate the perimeter running ability of the Steelers' Amos Zereoue.

"It's going to be fun when I do come back," Lewis said. "Just seeing my team's energy now, all they're waiting for is for me to say I'm playing."

Next for Ravens

Opponent:Pittsburgh Steelers

Site:Ravens Stadium

When:Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line:Steelers by 2

SunSpot:For more coverage, visit sunspot.net/ravens

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