Ravens' Washington out for season

Torn ligament sidelines cornerback

Harbaugh won't name replacement starter

November 24, 2009|By Edward Lee | edward.lee@baltsun.com

Cornerback Fabian Washington will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the second major injury of the season suffered by the Ravens.

Washington, who will join linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (torn left quadriceps) on injured reserve, suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of the team's 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday when he lowered his shoulder in an attempt to force running back Joseph Addai out of bounds. Washington appeared to land on his left leg awkwardly and had to be carried off the field.

Washington, who was using crutches after the game, was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam sometime Monday, and he confirmed the torn ligament via Twitter.

"Thanx for all of your support," wrote Washington, who is in the final year of his contract. "Yes, I do have a torn ACL. But I'll get through this. Go Ravens."

Forty-five minutes before Washington's "tweet," the Ravens were preparing for the worst.

Rookie Lardarius Webb - who was the primary nickel back Sunday for the first time this season - could make his first start Sunday against the Steelers. But coach John Harbaugh declined Monday to name a starter.

"Lardarius is going to be a big part of the plans," he said. "I'm not sure exactly how we're going to set that up right now. Of course, Chris Carr is in the mix, and Frank Walker's in the mix, and we'll see if we bring somebody else in at corner to kind of bolster us up a little bit. But we'll be sharing the duty a little bit with that. Obviously, Lardarius has played well, so he'll be a part of that."

If Webb does start, he would be the first rookie cornerback to do so for the Ravens since Dec. 16, 2007, when Willie Gaston started against the Miami Dolphins.

In other injury-related news, Harbaugh was noncommittal about whether linebacker Terrell Suggs would play after missing Sunday's game.

"We'll see," Harbaugh said. "If Terrell can play, he'll be playing. If he can't play, there will be a lot of guys in the mix like it was this week."

In defense of Reed
Harbaugh defended punt returner Ed Reed's decision to attempt to lateral the ball to Webb - a play that ended with a Colts player recovering the loose ball and effectively ending the Ravens' hopes.

"He had no intention of flipping that ball before that ball was punted and when it was in the air," Harbaugh said. "He just made a mistake, and I kind of related it to my mistake. I think we both made an overaggressive mistake at an anxious moment. Tried to do something a little too fast to try to find a way to make something happen, and we both overreached. He overreached on that play. That's one play in the game. It's not the reason we lost the game. I think it's indicative of the things we can all do better."

Harbaugh said the team is also awaiting feedback from the league about whether Reed's knee was down before he flipped the ball and whether the flip was a forward lateral, which would have ended the play with possession awarded to the Ravens.

"Our feeling was that his knee was down, and our feeling was that it was a forward lateral," Harbaugh said. "Why was it ruled the way it was ruled? But we'll get that back from the league, and they do a good job of letting us know how those things work."

Rally towels
In an effort to rival the "Terrible Towels" brandished by Pittsburgh Steelers fans, the Ravens have partnered with UnderArmour and the Wounded Warrior Project to distribute purple-and-white rally towels to the more than 71,000 fans attending Sunday night's game against the Steelers.

The towels display the Ravens' logo, UnderArmour's logo and the company's slogan "Protect This House" and an emblem for the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises awareness for severely injured service members.

"Our fans are committed and exceptionally passionate," said Ravens vice president of corporate sales and partnerships Mark Brudett, who also encouraged fans to wear purple. "It's important that every Ravens fan who attends the game gets a towel and displays it proudly. We want there to be a sea of purple and white, so the national audience can witness Baltimore's excitement and dedication to its team."

End zone
At the age of 35, wide receiver Derrick Mason - who registered season highs in catches (nine) and yards (142) Sunday - continues to impress his opponents. "He's definitely one of the best route-runners I've played," Colts rookie cornerback Jacob Lacey said. "He's a great guy, and as long as we kept him out of the end zone, we'd be straight." … Linebacker Ray Lewis'whiff on Addai's 5-yard touchdown run caught the attention of former Ravens cornerback Deion Sanders, now an analyst for the NFL Network. "Even Babe Ruth struck out every now and then," Sanders said. … With his one catch Sunday, Dallas Clark broke John Mackey'sColts record for career receptions by a tight end (320). … The Ravens' Family Food and Funds Drive collected $35,354 and 26,000 pounds of food for the Maryland Food Bank.

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