R. Lewis to have season-ending surgery today, source says

December 07, 2005|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

Ray Lewis' season is officially over.

The Ravens' Pro Bowl middle linebacker is scheduled to undergo surgery today in South Florida to repair his torn right hamstring, a league source said last night.

It marks the second time in four years that an injury has significantly cut short Lewis' season.

Lewis suffered the hamstring tear in the Ravens' 10-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Oct. 23, causing him to miss the past six games. The Ravens (4-8), who have four games left in their disappointing season, likely will place Lewis on injured reserve this week.

The decision for surgery is a major reversal from last week. Lewis, who had been running at the team's complex, was listed as questionable on last week's injury report for two days before being downgraded to doubtful Friday.

He skipped the Ravens' 16-15 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday to receive a second opinion on his hamstring from a specialist in Miami. According to the Ravens, that meeting was the first time surgery became an option for the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Missing the final 10 games of the season will be the longest stretch Lewis has ever been sidelined.

Lewis, 30, could not be reached for comment.

Bart Scott has started six games in Lewis' place, averaging eight tackles and recording an impressive four sacks.

Lewis averaged 7.6 tackles in six games this season, the worst average of his 10-year career. He had one sack and one forced fumble.

But the Ravens' run defense has lagged without Lewis, giving up three 100-yard rushers in the past four games. In Lewis' absence, the Ravens have dropped from the NFL's ninth-best defense against the run to No. 13.

This situation mirrors the one in 2002, when Lewis decided to have shoulder surgery during the season. He was sidelined for 11 games that season.

Since that injury in 2002, Lewis had started 37 of 38 games before suffering the hamstring tear in Week 7.

Over the past four seasons, the Ravens are 22-20 with Lewis in the lineup and 8-10 without him. Lewis will become the fifth significant Raven to be placed on injured reserve this season, joining safety Will Demps, fullback Alan Ricard, linebacker Dan Cody and running back Musa Smith.

Lewis, who had asked the Ravens for a new contract this offseason, has three years remaining on his existing deal. He is scheduled to make $5.5 million next season and $6.5 million in 2007 and 2008.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Ravens@Broncos Sunday, 4:15 p.m., Ch. 13, 1300 AM, 102.7 FM Line: Broncos by 14

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