Sams out for season

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

return specialist breaks right fibula

Smith, Ivy help fill role

Ravens Gameday

Bengals 13 Ravens 7

December 01, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

CINCINNATI -- The Ravens' return game suffered a significant blow when return specialist B.J. Sams broke his right fibula during last night's 13-7 loss to the Bengals. Sams will miss the rest of the season.

The loss of Sams, who entered last night's game ranked fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average and seventh in punt return average, left the Ravens scrambling. Cornerback Corey Ivy, who is not listed on the depth chart as a returner, took back one kickoff return and was in position for four punt returns, fumbling one.

"My heart goes out to B.J.," special teams coordinator Frank Gansz Jr. said. "I feel really bad for him getting hurt. It's tough because I know how much he means to this football team and me personally. I love the kid."

Sams, who was not in the team's locker room after the game, was tackled by Cincinnati's Kenny Watson after a 20-yard kickoff return to the Ravens' 26 with 4:48 left in the second quarter. After the play, Sams remained on the turf in obvious pain.

An air cast appeared to be wrapped around the shin area of Sams' right leg, and the third-year veteran from McNeese State was carted off the field.

Rookie running back Cory Ross is Sams' backup on the depth chart for kickoff and punt returns, but Ross was not activated for the game. Wide receiver Mark Clayton is listed third at that position, but it was backup running back Musa Smith who returned the opening kickoff of the second half.

"Coach [Gansz] is going to make his decision," Clayton said. "I asked him, and he was like, `You're all right.' So it was cool."

Ivy performed admirably, but fumbled one punt that the Bengals recovered at the Ravens' 35 with 4:09 left in the game. Cincinnati, however, could not take advantage as kicker Shayne Graham missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt wide right.

Ivy declined to comment on his returns.

Coach Brian Billick said the team would miss Sams.

"You're talking about one of the great return guys in the game right now," Billick said. "But like every team, the next guy's got to step up, and we'll adapt."

In other injury news, fullback Justin Green sprained his right knee when he planted and hit a Bengals blocker during coverage of a punt return in the third quarter. Green, who was helped off the field and did not return, had a wrap around his leg and needed crutches to move.

"It doesn't hurt at all, if that's a good thing," said Green, who will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam today.

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