Mason's break is in a different spot

Reed says Ravens defense still "great"

November 17, 2010|By Kevin Van Valkenburg, The Baltimore Sun

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason said Wednesday that he did not re-fracture his right pinky finger in the same spot against the Atlanta Falcons.

He broke it in a new place, he said, and there's nothing doctors can do to help it heal.

He already has a pin in his finger; it was inserted after he hurt it earlier this season.

"There's nothing they can do this time," Mason said. "It's just something that's going to have to heal on its own."

Mason, who had his finger bandaged and in a splint during practice Wednesday, said the injury isn't going to keep him from playing this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

"Hopefully it won't hamper me more than a couple weeks. When I'm out there, I don't really think too much about it," Mason said.

Mason said on the pain scale of 1 to 10, his finger is probably about a five.

"But by game time, it will probably go down to about a two," he said. "It just depends on whether or not I get hit on it.

For the most part, I don't feel it at all because I'm so tuned in and so focused in on what I've got to do as a player."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, in general, he leaves it up to the training staff and the player whether they want to try to play through an injury. But that does come with a qualifier. The player still has to be able to do his job.

"As a coach, if you don't feel like a guy can perform — if you think he's just not up to speed, even though the trainers say he can play — you're going to put the other guy [in the game]," Harbaugh said. "There are some things out there that hurt so much, a guy just can't perform through it. Other times they can. And we do have some guys like Derrick Mason that [can play through injuries]. When a guy plays so many games over so many years, you've got to assume he has a pretty good pain threshold. Derrick caught the ball well, so I think he's fine."

Reed defends defense

Ravens safety Ed Reed said he hurt his ankle in Thursday night's loss to the Falcons when quarterback Matt Ryan slid into his foot. He suggested he may have suffered some ligament damage, and that he got up slow after plays as a result.

Interestingly, it was the same play that TV replays showed Reed dropping his elbow as Ryan ducked his head. Reed said he didn't remember exactly how the play unfolded.

"Once he hit my ankle, I have no clue what hit him," Reed said. "Once he hit my ankle, I knew he was down already. I was just like, 'Oh, my God, he slid right into my ankle.' "

Reed said reports of the demise of the Ravens' defense are premature.

"The day they beat us 59-28, then we have problems," Reed said.

When it was pointed out to Reed that 59-28 was the margin of the Eagles' Monday night victory over the Redskins, he backtracked.

"I was just throwing numbers out," he said. "If we got beat 63-0, something like that, then we've got concerns on defense. Score was 21-26. They made a play at the end of the game. You can't put the call in the referee's hands. You got to make a play. You can say our defense ain't this, our defense ain't that, but look across the league. Every week it's something different. One minute, the defense is not doing 'this,' the next minute the offense is not doing 'this'.

"We're still a great defense and you're going to continue to add guys in every year, and continue to take guys off. That's the nature of the [game]."

Reed also said he has not eliminated the lateral from his return game.

"No, I haven't ruled it out," he said. "If the situation presents itself and it's a good opportunity, I would do it If we needed it and it's in good scoring position — it's not just a lateral just to mess with the game — [but] it's got to be a smart situation."

Ready to return

During his weekly radio show Tuesday night, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Donte' Stallworth is a candidate to return punts. On Wednesday, the wide receiver said he's prepared to do so.

"I've been working on it even before I came back," said Stallworth, who missed the team's first seven games to allow a broken bone in his left foot to heal. "That's just a matter of me having to get back into the flow of things, getting back to being comfortable catching punts. So as far as an actual game, if they need me, of course I'll do it."

Stallworth hasn't returned a punt in a game since 2005 when he played for the New Orleans Saints. His career average is 5.7 yards per punt, which is just a shade behind the Ravens' 6.0 average this season.

Stallworth said he's getting a feel for returning punts.

"It's more of just catching the ball," he said. "You have to have a feel for it and how the ball comes off of each punter's foot. Knowing if he's a lefty or righty is going to help, and you watch the film and you study his tendencies. It goes into a lot of different things. As with everything that has to do with football, you can't just go out there and wing it. You have to study and understand what the team is trying to do."

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