A long road of rehab ahead for Wright

OWINGS MILLS – The medical prognosis for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Anthony Wright after undergoing shoulder surgery involves a significant amount of rehabilitation.<br><br>It will be at least four months before he's able to throw a football. However, after a successful repair of the partially torn labrum and part of his rotator cuff muscle a week ago it will be even longer before Wright can loft a deep spiral over a defensive back's head.<br>

"It will probably be September before Anthony can do some throwing, but again it won't be wind up and throw it downfield the 50 and 60 yards that he likes to do," head athletic trainer Bill Tessendorf said. "Unfortunately, the timing is what it is. We don't want to minimize it."

After watching film of a hit Wright absorbed in a 44-41 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the quarterback and team officials concluded that was when the damage was done.

Wright continued to play and led Baltimore to its first division title, compiling a 5-2 mark as a starter before signing a two-year contract reportedly worth $3 million that includes a $1.5 million signing bonus. Now, the Ravens are searching for a backup to starter Kyle Boller that may lead them to Kordell Stewart or another veteran passer yet to be released.

"Because he had strength in his shoulder, Anthony was able to continue and that's very common," Tessendorf said. "Usually with an injury like that, it can be taken care of through strengthening exercises. Unfortunately, we never took care of the underlying cause."

Once Wright began throwing at a passing camp weeks ago, the pain became so severe that he couldn't complete simple warmup drills. Altering his throwing motion only aggravated his arm and back muscles because of the unfamiliar twisting of his upper torso.

It's probable that Wright will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.

"He's going to have a lot of rehab before he's back to where he was, but the outlook is positive," Tessendorf said.

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl outside linebacker Peter Boulware underwent knee surgery in January and might be limited in training camp.

Three weeks ago, doctors reexamined a knee that suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament and a condral lesion involving a fracture of the articular cartilage.

"This is a very sizable lesion," Tessendorf said. "The PCL wasn't a major issue, but the lesion was the limiting factor."

A lot of scar tissue is still present, but overall the knee appears to be healing well, Tessendorf said. It will be reexamined at the end of June.

"I told Peter that when he comes back he may be a spot player at first," Tessendorf said. "Peter has a few years left on his contract and it's better to take our time to let the body adapt to the stress rather than overload it."

Cornerback Gary Baxter had surgery for an abdominal hernia this off-season. He's running again, but has been held out of minicamps. 

The team is likely to limit his activity until training camp, although Baxter reported feeling much better over the last few weeks.

"Because of what he does, backpedal, sprint, twist, turn and change direction, the doctor wants to go a little bit easy," Tessendorf said. "He's going to get some discomfort in there because of the tearing down of scar tissue. He's got some sutures in there that are stabilizing the mesh.

"The general consensus of the corner offices [coaching and personnel] basically is we want him for training camp."

Baxter had 83 tackles, three interceptions and a sack last season. He started the season at free safety before supplanting Corey Fuller outside.

"Gary is starting to get proud of his six-pack abs," Tessendorf said. "He told me he felt great because of this and might even be faster now. We'll see."

NOTE: Tessendorf said he doesn't anticipate any problems arising from All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis' thumb surgery. … Undrafted rookie cornerback Zach Norton recently had shoulder surgery to address a history of dislocations.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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