Ravens' Kindle likely to miss rest of season

Harbaugh says team being 'very, very careful' with rookie LB

September 17, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Sergio Kindle's fall this summer will likely cost him his rookie season and perhaps more.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Friday that he "highly doubts" Kindle will play this season after receiving results of a recent medical evaluation and he has received no assurances that the rookie linebacker will ever play.

"[The doctors] don't know. There's no way to predict these things," Harbaugh said. "You don't know how the brain heals. It's different in everybody. We'll just see how it goes."

Kindle, the team's top pick in the 2010 draft, sustained a hairline fracture in his skull when he fell down two flights of stairs at a friend's house on July 22, a few days before the start of Ravens training camp.

He underwent neurological and cognitive tests earlier this month at Baltimore's Sinai Hospital, the results of which will likely sideline him for the rest of the season.

"He's got some serious issues that he's dealing with," Harbaugh said. "The chances of him playing this year are slim. We're going to be very, very careful. The doctors are going to very careful. Sergio is going to be very careful with that type of an injury."

Kindle acknowledged being disappointed about the news.

"It can only get better from here," Kindle told The Baltimore Sun. "My career is going to be fine."

The Ravens drafted Kindle in the second round expecting him to strengthen the Ravens' pass rush this season. The University of Texas star was voted this draft's top 3-4 outside linebacker prospect in a poll of 17 NFL scouts by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

He has the size (6-3, 250) and athleticism (4.65 speed) NFL defensive coordinators covet. He had 16 sacks and two forced fumbles in four seasons in the program that produced Brian Orakpo, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie for the Washington Redskins.

"He wants to be here. He wants to get back on track," Harbaugh said. "Then while we do that, [he can] continue his physical therapy through the process and just see where that takes us."

Kindle's accident — which he says was the result of trying to find the bathroom in the dark — caused a "small crack" in the side of his head. He needed staples in his head for two to three weeks.

Kindle, who turns 23 on Monday, had been optimistic about playing this season. He has been lifting weights and working on conditioning drills for over a month.

"It's one of those deals where you feel like you can play, but if the doctors don't see it, then you don't play," Kindle said.

The Ravens will re-start contract talks with their top pick in the 2010 draft and "try to sign him to some form of a deal that reflects the situation and give him an opportunity," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens have until next year's draft to sign Kindle. If they fail to do so, he is eligible to be drafted again.

Kindle is eager to sign with the Ravens, so he can attend meetings, practices and games. Under NFL rules, an unsigned rookie can't have any face-to-face contact with team officials once training camp begins.

"I just want to be a part of the team and the camaraderie," Kindle said from his home in Texas. "Regardless of if I'm playing or not, I wouldn't mind being the biggest cheerleader we've got."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/jamisonhensley

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