Back injury to keep R. Lewis out again

November 18, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will sit out tomorrow's game against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium, his second consecutive missed game.

The team downgraded Lewis from questionable yesterday. Jarret Johnson is expected to make his first start of the season as an inside linebacker with Bart Scott.

Terrell Suggs and Adalius Thomas would be the outside linebackers,although Thomas is listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

"Anytime you take a player of that caliber out, the next guy has to step in," coach Brian Billick said after practice yesterday. "We've got a lot of different packages to account for. I don't know if you ever replace a Ray Lewis, but we've got some guys in some different packages that we're going to try."

Lewis bruised his back during the Ravens' 26-20 win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 5 when he and safety Ed Reed collided on a fumble return and Reed's knee struck Lewis in the back.

Lewis missed last week's contest against the Tennessee Titans, and on Wednesday he underwent a surgical procedure to drain what Billick called a "pool of blood" from his back.

In other injury-related news, wide receiver Derrick Mason (calf) and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (foot) were upgraded to probable from questionable. Tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and right guard Keydrick Vincent (groin) are still listed as questionable.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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