Ravens notebook: Reed has high ankle sprain

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed incurred a high-ankle sprain and is unlikely to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but could be out for an even longer period depending on how it responds to treatment. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year was injured in a 16-3 win over the Cleveland Browns and was unable to place any weight on the foot while hopping off the field. He also sprained his knee, another factor affecting his availability.

"Ed is probably the most serious with the infamous high-ankle sprain, which is like the turf toe: more serious than it sounds," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The high-ankle sprain is always a concern. Different players respond to it differently by position, by person. It would be ill-advised to project at this time until they are done with all the imaging and see where they are with it."

If Reed is out, Chad Williams would start at strong safety. Rookie safety B.J. Ward is another candidate for increased playing time.

Meanwhile, fullback Ovie Mughelli and wide receiver Mark Clayton are question marks with sprained ankles.

If Mughelli can't play, Billick anticipates plugging in Alan Ricard after his calf strain was rested last week. Rookie Justin Green is a possibility along with tight ends Daniel Wilcox, Darnell Dinkins or Terry Jones.

"Justin Green is playing very well at fullback," Billick said.

If Clayton's out or limited, Randy Hymes could start and Patrick Johnson or Clarence Moore might be activated.

Running back Musa Smith (leg) is expected to return to practice this week after spending six weeks on the physically unable to perform list. If he's not able to return to the active roster in the next three weeks, he'll be placed on injured reserve.

"I'm very hopeful," Billick said. "That would be a huge pick-up for us if Musa could come back to the active roster."

Quarterback Kyle Boller (hyperextended toe) is improving, according to Billick, with a more aggressive rehabilitation regimen. It's most likely that he won't available to be the third quarterback until Oct. 31 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

PENALTY BOX: The Ravens were flagged five times for holding, and Billick said he agreed with only two of them.

"In three of those instances, I have to look at the film and tell that player, ‘No, you pretty much have to do things that same way because I don't see it,'" Billick said.

Plus, Billick submitted a report on Ray Lewis' questionable personal foul where it looked like he tried to keep receiver Antonio Bryant from falling.

"He grabs and holds up the player, otherwise the two of them would have gone tumbling down into the sideline," Billick said. "It's obvious, it's clear-cut."

The television crew speculated that the Ravens are under increased scrutiny following their franchise-record 21 penalties against the Detroit Lions.

"If you conduct yourself contrary to that image, crew by crew, we will change that perception," Billick said. "Possibly by the end of the season, a crew will give you the benefit of the doubt because you have conducted yourself differently. We are one to the good."

MESSAGE SENT: By selecting Terrell Suggs, Derrick Mason and Reed as game captains days after they were fined by the NFL for their misconduct, the Ravens delivered a not-so subtle message.

"The responsibility they bore in Detroit, they were the perfect leaders for setting the example," Billick said. "They're people I believe in character-wise to say, ‘We'll make a statement going forward.'"

QUICK HITS: Billick said he didn't speak Sunday with former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer. "I don't know that enough time has passed for Trent to feel good about it and I understand that totally," Billick said. … Lewis (defense), tight end Todd Heap (offense) and Wilcox (special teams) received game balls.

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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