For now, Boller can take a pass on surgery

Smooth toe rehab could put Ravens QB on field by late October

September 21, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

Barring any setbacks in recovery, Kyle Boller will not need surgery on his injured toe, coach Brian Billick said yesterday.

In what has become the only positive news during the Ravens' bleak 0-2 start -- depending on where you sit on the team's quarterback debate -- Boller could return as the starting quarterback by the end of October.

There were increasing concerns that Boller would require season-ending surgery when he met with a specialist in North Carolina on Monday.

"Right now, they [the doctors] were adamant that Kyle does not need surgery, and he is on the original prognosis," Billick said.

Boller, who is again walking on crutches, had his right foot placed in a cast Monday to protect it from any undue stress. The cast is scheduled to be removed by the end of next week.

He will then need two to three weeks to rehabilitate his big right toe, which was hyperextended in the season opener.

"When he comes out of the cast, then it's a matter of how quickly he can rehab the toe," Billick said. "Kyle heals pretty quick. The best-case scenario is probably two weeks."

According to Billick, it would be "not unrealistic" for Boller to return against the Cleveland Browns (Oct. 16) although it's more likely he would come back to play against the Chicago Bears (Oct. 23) or the Pittsburgh Steelers (Oct. 31).

If Boller is able to return in this time frame, he would regain his starting job from Anthony Wright.

"If Kyle is healthy, released [by the doctors] to play by the Cleveland game and has had the appropriate practice time, I would see no reason why he would not be our starter," Billick said.

While the Ravens are optimistic about this timetable, there are no guarantees whether Boller will suit up again this season.

"If it [his recovery] goes beyond that [Pittsburgh game] ... and he doesn't show real improvement, then you've got to think about the more dramatic step," Billick said.

Those dramatic steps would either be placing him on injured reserve (which would end his season) or another more serious option.

"If during the rehab, soreness or something else should happen, they haven't ruled out the surgery," Billick said. "But not withstanding additional injury to it, surgery is not something they want to do."

Players were off yesterday, and Boller could not be reached for comment.

Boller, the Ravens' first-round draft pick in 2003, has been a target of heavy criticism after a rocky preseason in which he threw two touchdowns and five interceptions.

In the season opener he completed 15 of 23 passes for 141 yards and one interception, but the offense failed to generate any points in three quarters under him. Boller was injured on a sack with about five minutes left in the third quarter of the 24-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Boller's replacement, Anthony Wright, did not fare any better in Sunday's 25-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Like Boller, Wright had little time to throw behind porous pass protection.

There had been rumors that the Ravens would make a change on the offensive line in an effort to address the pass blocking problems. But Billick said the team has no intentions of benching a starting lineman during the bye week.

"We will continue to push them through the paces," Billick said. "We want to get [backups] Adam Terry and Brian Rimpf cranked up and see if they're viable choices for us down the line. Right now, we have no plan that this guy is out and this guy is in."

Note -- The Ravens released third-string quarterback Derek Anderson and re-signed receiver Patrick Johnson. It is believed that Anderson will be added to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Jets @ Ravens Oct. 2, 4:05 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium TV/Radio: Ch. 13/1300 AM, 102.7 FM

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