Broken leg healed, Smith returns to special teams

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens Notebook

November 10, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

The afternoon before his first practice, Ravens running back Musa Smith did not sound like someone who expected to play this season. That was three weeks ago, and since then, Smith has discovered that cutting, accelerating and taking a hit on his formerly broken leg is not as bad as he anticipated.

As a result, the Ravens activated Smith from the physically-unable-to-perform list yesterday. Smith is expected to play on special teams Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Smith takes the roster spot of quarterback Kordell Stewart, who was released.

"It's been a long time, almost a year, but my leg is feeling pretty good," Smith said. "They decided to activate me. I'm excited."

Smith had 15 practices to prove he was healed from an injury last year off a neck-high tackle by Dallas safety Roy Williams. It was the type of injury that kept former Ravens tight end Trent Smith out two seasons.

Doctors told Smith he had a 50-50 chance of playing again.

"It's been a hard road, but the best thing is I really didn't have any setbacks," Smith said. "I just kept progressing through the weeks and the months. I'm excited about getting back out there. I really don't think about what happened. I'm not worried about my leg ever breaking again because I have a steel rod."

It has been an injury-marred three-year stint for Smith, a 2003 third-round draft choice. A knee injury kept him out the first five games his rookie season, and the broken leg forced him out the last six games last year.

Although he will likely play exclusively on special teams for now, the Ravens may have to play Smith at running back later in the season to see if he can handle being the top backup next year. Both Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor are unrestricted free agents.

Smith has 21 career rushes for 79 yards and two touchdowns and says he has no designs on carrying the load this season.

"For me to say I could come in here and do better [than Lewis and Taylor], that's unlikely because I don't have the experience."

Injury report

Ed Reed (ankle) will not play against the Jaguars. Ray Lewis (thigh) will miss his third straight game as well.

Terrell Suggs missed part of yesterday's practice with a thigh injury and is questionable, along with Dale Carter (thigh), B.J. Ward (thigh) and Dan Wilcox (neck). None of those players participated in team drills.

Fullback Ovie Mughelli (ankle) is probable.

"We'll see how we make it through the week," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Billick on Holmes

With rumors rampant about the possible retirement of Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, Billick seemed disappointed about the possible departure of one of his former players.

Holmes played for the Ravens from 1997 to 2000 but has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons.

"Priest is going to be on that list, and I've been very fortunate because that list is pretty long, of guys that I've been fortunate enough to be allowed to work with, that you'll think back on and think, `Boy I'm better for having been around a guy like that,'" Billick said.

Rolle vs. Jags' Smith

Cornerback Samari Rolle had high praise for Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith, who is having a relatively quiet year with 29 catches for 483 yards.

Rolle called Smith the best receiver he has ever faced, though he is not sure where he ranks on Smith's top cornerbacks list.

"I don't know," Rolle said. "We've had some good battles. I think the respect is there from both of us."

Smith has had some of his best days against the Ravens, including a 15-catch, 291-yard, three-touchdown performance in 2000 that stands as a career high.

End zone

Billick broke two ribs in a racquetball match Tuesday. He said he has had trouble sleeping. ... The Ravens released linebacker Ivory McCoy from the practice squad and signed defensive back Robb Butler to the practice squad.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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