McNair expects to play Sunday

Ravens 27 Browns 17

Ravens Gameday

December 18, 2006|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

Steve McNair wasn't playing when the Ravens clinched their playoff berth yesterday, but the team's starting quarterback expects to be there for the final stretch run.

Leaving the game after the Ravens' second series with a right hand injury, McNair quelled any concerns about his long-term health in the locker room, saying he is prepared to play in Sunday's game in Pittsburgh.

"I think I'll be ready," McNair said. "I just have to get some of the soreness out of it. My feeling is coming back. I'm quite sure I'll be ready."

Team officials said McNair would be listed as probable if they had to make a classification after yesterday's 27-17 win over the Cleveland Browns.

McNair was hurt on the Ravens' sixth offensive play, when Browns linebacker Andra Davis accidentally stepped on his hand after McNair had been knocked to the ground.

McNair was taken to the locker room, where X-rays on the hand were negative. He did suffer a cut on the hand that became aggravated every time he took a snap from center on the sideline.

Coach Brian Billick decided to stick with backup Kyle Boller, who finished 13-for-21 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception and one fumble.

"I was worried about the quarterback-center exchanges," Billick said. "Kyle was ready to go and I just thought it was the prudent thing to do."

McNair said the hand seemed to get better through the course of the game.

"It feels OK. It just feels sore," McNair said. "I couldn't get the feeling back until the later part of the game. But that's why Kyle is [here]. We needed this game and the guys rallied around him and played well."

McNair, who failed to complete a pass on four attempts, said he could have returned.

"The main thing was taking a snap from the center and jarring it a little bit," McNair said. "If I had to bear down and bite the bullet, I think I could have went back."

Even though he didn't get to finish the game, McNair expressed confidence in how the Ravens could finish the season.

"It feels good to be in the playoffs, but it goes beyond that," he said. "Our goal is to get to the Super Bowl. This is step one and there are more steps to go."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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