Injuries a pain for line

Terry's ankle latest blow to offensive unit

July 30, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

The Ravens' thin offensive line took another hit yesterday, when Adam Terry sprained his already-injured left ankle.

Terry, a second-round pick in 2005, is the Ravens' second starting offensive tackle to go down with an injury in four days.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who did not talk to reporters yesterday morning, told WBAL last night that it's not a season-ending injury.

"It's not a major situation," Harbaugh said. "It will take time to heal. He'll be back with us."

A few hours after he was injured, Terry was walking around the team hotel on crutches. His left leg was wrapped from below the knee down to the entire foot.

Asked about his injury and the severity of it, Terry told The Sun: Who knows? I don't know the exact terminology. I don't want to say the wrong thing."

Terry's injury is more devastating because offensive tackle Jared Gaither hurt his right ankle Saturday. There is no timetable for the return of Gaither, who is limping around in a protective boot.

The Ravens are now starting Mike Kracalik at left tackle and rookie Oniel Cousins at right tackle. Neither Kracalik, a practice squad player for the past two seasons, nor Cousins, a third-round pick, has played a down in a regular-season game.

Offensive line coach John Matsko wouldn't rule out making more changes along the offensive line, saying the Ravens "don't have a set line yet."

"We're still competing for spots," he said.

Terry, who had moved from right tackle to left after Gaither was injured, had been struggling through the first six days of training camp. He didn't seem fully recovered from offseason surgery on his left ankle.

In morning practice, Terry flipped over running back Ray Rice during a full-team contact drill and fell hard to the ground. He was screaming in pain and grabbing his left leg before being carted off the field. When he was placed on the cart, he pounded his fist in frustration.

"When you see a guy go to the training room, of course it hurts," center Jason Brown said. "You're not just losing a teammate; you're losing a brother and a friend."

The Ravens are limited in what they can do to address the injuries at offensive tackle.

The most prominent free agents available are Kyle Turley, Nat Dorsey, Stockar McDougle and Todd Steussie.

There has been speculation the Ravens are talking with the Jacksonville Jaguars about a possible trade for either Khalif Barnes or Richard Collier, who are competing for the left tackle job.

One option the Ravens can rule out is bringing back Jonathan Ogden, the near-certain Hall of Fame lineman who retired in early June.

He said yesterday that there was "no chance" that he would be coming back to play.

"I'm not subjecting myself to that," Ogden said. "I'm happy. I just came off the golf course."

Is there a chance that he could miss football later this year?

"I don't miss it in the slightest," Ogden said. "I may miss it on a Sunday or two, but I don't miss this [training camp]."

Harbaugh's camp has featured more contact than Brian Billick's summer routine.

Asked whether the increased hitting has led to more injuries, Brown said: "I'm not sure what to attribute it to. Right now, we're going hard and we want to go hard. [Injuries are] a consequence of the game."

With Kracalik and Cousins working with the starters, the top backups are Joe Reitz, a former basketball player at Western Michigan, and Sean Dumford, an undrafted rookie from Eastern Kentucky.

Kracalik said he doesn't feel that the offensive line is snakebitten.

"If you have a negative attitude toward it, then more people are going to get hurt," he said. "You just have to try to stay upbeat. I personally am enjoying the opportunity."

In other injury news, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who injured his right knee Sunday, said he has a sprained medial collateral ligament and is day-to-day.

"It's just a little minor thing," Ngata said. "It's just a speed bump that I'm trying to get over. I'll be back sooner than you guys think."

There's more uncertainty surrounding safety Ed Reed, who is on the physically unable to perform list with an undisclosed injury. Working off to the side, Reed has shown no injuries to his legs or arms while running and catching passes.

Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said he doesn't know when Reed will return.

"Mentally, in the meeting rooms, he's taking that leadership over," Ryan said. "He's making all the calls and he's sharp. It's just about when he can return to physical play."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Mike Preston and Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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