Ravens' Thomas gets a scare

WESTMINSTER -- In the Baltimore Ravens' second major injury at outside linebacker during training camp, starter Adalius Thomas hyperextended his right knee Tuesday morning at the team's indoor facility. The prognosis was actually viewed as relatively positive news, because the Ravens initially feared the worst for their most versatile defender: torn or sprained knee ligaments.

It turns out that Thomas only has a hyperextended knee with no meniscus tear or damage to his anterior cruciate or medial collateral ligaments, according to Ravens coach Brian Billick.

"It looks like just a hyperextension," Billick said after the team's afternoon practice at McDaniel College. "That's very, very good news."

Rookie linebacker Dan Cody, projected to be the team's situational pass rusher, suffered a second to third-degree sprain of his anterior cruciate ligament during the first day of practice and is out indefinitely pending a second magnetic resonance imaging exam.

For a while, it looked like Thomas was in similar medical straits.

Crumpled underneath a pile and moaning in pain, the strongside linebacker immediately grabbed his right knee and was helped off the field by trainers. The pain apparently faded as he limped off the field in Owings Mills before being bused back to Westminster.

Hours later after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging exam, Thomas learned that the initial prognosis of a hyperextended knee was accurate. He was still limping with a sleeve around his leg, but was able to bend his knee well enough to drive his BMW out of the team hotel.

A hyperextended knee extends beyond its normally straightened position so that it bends back on itself, according to medical journals.

Sometimes, the damage is relatively minor with pain and swelling when the knee is extended. However, a hyperextended knee can lead to a partial or complete ACL tear because of the trauma placed on the joint.

There is no time table for how long Thomas might be out. Depending on the severity, the 2003 Pro Bowl special-teams ace could miss anywhere from a few days to one month.

At 6-foot-2, 270 pounds with 4.5 speed over 40 yards, Thomas is one of the most athletic players on the team and has lined up at defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker and safety.

The injury prompted even more speculation about the Ravens possibly reuniting with four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware, whom the team cut this spring as a salary cap casualty after he missed all of last season with knee and toe injuries. Team offcials have held preliminary discussions with Roosevelt Barnes, Boulware's agent, but no deal is imminent.

"I'm going to be all right," said Thomas, who registered a career-high eight sacks last season. "Don't count me out. I'm going to my room to rub some dirt on it."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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