Injury to Thomas opens door for Johnson

Veteran linebacker says he's 'day-to-day,' Defensive lineman makes transition to LB

August 10, 2005|By Dave Alexander | Dave Alexander,Baltimoresun.com Staff

Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas was all smiles this afternoon, a day after limping off the practice field wearing a pained expression.

Thomas sat out of today's afternoon workout with a hyperextended right knee suffered near the end of Tuesdays morning workout, an injury that appeared to be serious. But a magnetic resonance imaging test revealed no ligament or meniscus damage.

"I was very scared," Thomas said. "The first thing that went through my head was 'Dang, I'm going to need a year of rehab,' because of the way it felt. But it's the best sprain I've ever had, because it's not a tear."

Thomas said he was day-to-day and hopes to run a little bit on Thursday, though he's not expected to play in Saturday's preseason opener at Atlanta.

His injury will give the Ravens a chance to look at some other players at the linebacker position, particularly third-year defensive lineman Jarret Johnson, who is in the process of learning the strong-side, or Sam, linebacker position.

"Jarret is a good, smart football player, and he gives us a real physical presence at Sam," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Obviously dropping's not going to be his forte quite yet, but he gives us a presence against the run, the rush off the edge, and he's certainly capable mentally of doing the job."

Also Wednesday, running back Jamal Lewis participated in team drills for the first time this preseason after missing the first seven days while finishing his federal drug conspiracy sentence. Lewis saw limited action and will not play on Saturday.

"He looked fresh, which you'd expect after not being here for the first week," Billick said. "We'll just continue to push him through it and see if we can get him to that next level of conditioning."

One player who saw plenty of action on Wednesday was rookie quarterback Derek Anderson, who is competing with Darian Durant for the No. 3 QB job behind Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright. Anderson, a sixth-round draft choice from Oregon State, got the majority of the snaps on Wednesday and threaded a 22-yard touchdown pass to Fred Stamps to wrap up a two-minute drill.

"Freddy made a great catch," Anderson said. "I made a few mental errors, but I had a good little two-minute drill, and that's more than likely where I'm going to get in this weekend. So I'm trying to fine-tune that and minimize mistakes."

Another rookie, first-round pick Mark Clayton, provided the highlight of the day with his jump-ball catch over Deion Sanders on a deep ball during a one-on-one drill.

Sanders returned to practice after sitting out on Tuesday, as did fellow cornerback Chris McAlister. Fullback Alan Ricard participated in pads after being limited to conditioning drills on Tuesday.

Linebacker Ray Lewis was not in uniform yesterday, a scheduled day of rest.

Billick also said the team had released wide receiver Derek Abney, a 2004 seventh-round pick who missed all of last season with an injury.

Originally published August 10, 2005, 6:18 PM EDT

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