J. Lewis says he's not playing Sunday

Star unsure of return

C. Taylor likely to start

Pro Football

December 02, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Ravens listed Jamal Lewis as doubtful on the team's injury report, but the Pro Bowl running back took it a step further when asked about his hurt ankle.

"I'm not playing," Lewis said.

Lewis is expected to miss his second straight game Sunday when the Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals. It will be the fourth game Lewis has missed this season (two due to suspension), and it is unclear when he will be ready to return.

With Lewis out, the Ravens will start Chester Taylor, who is coming off his worst performance as a starter this season in rushing for 61 yards on 16 carries against the New England Patriots.

Taylor's longest run was for 8 yards.

"I'm going to be ready to go," Taylor said.

"I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win. As long as we keep grinding, one of these times, [a big run] will come."

Lewis was injured on his second carry against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 21. He has rushed for 651 yards this season and may find it tough to crack the 1,000-yard mark after running for more than 2,000 last year.

In the eight games Lewis has played, he has rushed for 100 yards only twice. He led the league in rushing virtually from start to finish a year ago but is 21st this year.

The Ravens, meanwhile, remain equally frustrated by their never-ending injury situation.

Tight end Todd Heap practiced yesterday and appears close to returning from an injured ankle that has kept him out since the second game of the season. Defensive back Deion Sanders (toe) and right tackle Orlando Brown (knee) did not practice and are not expected to play.

Sanders and punter Dave Zastudil are both officially doubtful. Brown is questionable.

"They'll play when they play," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Heap and Lewis. "I've given up trying to ... [Cowboys running back] Julius Jones was out, out, then doubtful and ran for how many yards against us? So I have no clue what those [injury] reports mean. Check with the training staff and they will tell you who's up and who's down, then on Sunday, I'll see who plays."

Linebacker Cornell Brown (infection), cornerback Chris McAlister (shoulder), fullback Alan Ricard (knee) and linebacker Bart Scott (ankle) are all questionable.

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