McAlister hopeful, limited

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Eager to face Steelers, cornerback still slowed by strained right knee

Ravens Weekend

November 02, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun Reporter

While Chris McAlister still hopes that his strained right knee will improve in time for him to play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Brian Billick hinted that the team will not have the services of the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

McAlister has not played since injuring the knee in a 22-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 14, and the team described him as being limited in practice yesterday.

Asked if it would be difficult for McAlister to play Monday, Billick said: "Probably. We'll have to see how the week progresses, but that would be the one I'm most concerned about."

McAlister, who sat out the game against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 21, said he has been running to strengthen the knee and has been encouraged by the improvement in the knee's stability and flexibility.

"It's nowhere near as bad as it was a week ago," he said. "From last week to this week, it's night and day."

But McAlister said he didn't know if he would be able to suit up against the Steelers.

"It could just as well be a game-day decision," he said. "It's just a matter of making the best decision for the team in the long haul. Whether I come back and play or don't, whatever decision is made is going to be in the best interest of my health."

In other injury-related news, tight end Todd Heap (strained hamstring) also was limited in practice, while tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained toe) did not participate.

Scott: Hit is history

Ben Roethlisberger said he has forgotten the jarring hit Bart Scott delivered on him last season. The same could be said for Scott.

The Ravens linebacker, whose bone-rattling sack of Roethlisberger on Nov. 26 has been tabbed as a visual reminder of the Ravens' dominance of the Steelers last season, said his thoughts haven't lingered on the hit or its effects.

"Unless he's going to lay down, that doesn't count anymore," Scott said. "That was last year, and I'm sure he'll be willing to redeem himself, and I'm sure that whoever was supposed to have me in that blocking scheme is going to try to redeem himself."

Doubts for Sams

Return specialist B.J. Sams, whose season ended in Week 1 after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, said he has gained strength from persevering through a similar ordeal last year.

But Sams, who fractured his right ankle last year, said he has had to fight off doubts that occasionally creep into his thoughts.

"Everything's running through my mind like, `Will I ever get to play again?' and `What's going to happen to me?' " said Sams, who underwent surgery to repair the ligament a week after the Sept. 10 opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. "But I'm definitely working hard to get back into the best possible shape that I've ever been in so that I can go out and perform next year."

Sams said doctors have told him his recovery should take six to eight months, meaning he could be ready to participate in the Ravens' organized team activities in the spring.

End zone

The Steelers might play without two defensive starters. Defensive end Aaron Smith (knee) and safety Ryan Clark (spleen) were held out of practice for the second consecutive day. ... The Ravens signed rookie tight end Jake Nordin to the practice squad and waived wide receiver Romby Bryant.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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