Ravens notes: Reed doubtful for 'Da Bears

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed is nearly a lock to miss Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears as he's hobbled with a high ankle sprain that could keep him out indefinitely. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn't practice Wednesday, and his doubtful listing on the injury report connotes only a 25-percent chance of him being available.

"Ed's responding to treatment well, all the imagery is good, but it's still a high ankle sprain," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He's very doubtful for this game, but we'll see how it progresses."
Injured during the Ravens' 16-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Reed declined comment as he headed toward the cafeteria at the team's training complex.

"See? I'm walking," said Reed while limping noticeably.

Reed would be replaced in the starting lineup at strong safety by Chad Williams with rookie B.J. Ward a candidate for increased playing time.

"They're going to try to play-action and make vertical plays down the field," Billick acknowledged. "We've got a great deal of faith in Chad. He has knowledge of the defense, he knows what he's supposed to be doing. He's been solid for us in every phase."

TRAINING ROOM: Besides quarterback Kyle Boller (toe) and defensive end Tony Weaver (toe) who remain out, wide receiver Mark Clayton (ankle) and fullback Alan Ricard (ankle) are the Ravens' most prominent injuries.

Both starters are listed as questionable and missed a portion of team drills.

If Clayton and Ricard are limited or unavailable, Billick indicated that the team could use four wide receiver sets. Clayton barely did anything at practice Wednesday.

Randy Hymes is likely to start at receiver and Clarence Moore and Patrick Johnson will probably be activated. Devard Darling, who saw limited action last week, could be in line for more snaps.

"I'm not kidding about those four-wides," Billick said. "We could look like the Run-and-Shoot."

Quarterback Anthony Wright said he's like to see the team line up with five wide receivers.

Fullback Ovie Mughelli (ankle) is questionable. Center Mike Flynn (ankle, toe) and linebacker Ray Lewis (thigh) are probable and missed a portion of team drills.

Rookie fullback Justin Green might be the only active fullback in Chicago.

BOLLER ON THE MEND: Boller practiced for the first time since hyperextending his right big toe in the season opener, but didn't participate in team drills. He won't play Sunday, but it's possible that he'll be the third quarterback next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"He's moving around," Billick said. "He's not yet ready to be in a situation where we can't control it. The time frame I laid out originally hasn't changed. If that gets pushed back, then we'll have to address it."

Boller said his toe still hurts when he pushes off to throw.

SMITH RETURNS: Running back Musa Smith, who's on the physically unable to perform list after a gruesome broken leg 11 months ago, practiced for the first time this seeason.

Smith has three weeks to prove he's capable of being on the active roster, or he'll be placed on injured reserve.

"I think the biggest challenge is, ‘How sore is my leg going to feel?'" Smith said. "This is the closest I've been to playing, but I don't know how my leg is going to hold up. If I don't make it back this year, I know I'll definitely play next year."

J. LEWIS UPDATE: Billick reaffirmed his commitment to starting running back Jamal Lewis ahead of Chester Taylor despite Lewis averaging only three yards per carry compared to Taylor's 5.8 average.

"Jamal Lewis is a force," Billick said. "If you want to bring a huge smile to the face of our opponents, we can outthink ourselves and say, ‘You know what, maybe we'll cut back on the number of carries that Jamal Lewis has.'

"The people in Chicago would take the day off and say, ‘Thank you very much, coach.' We're just not going to do it. Jamal's too much of a factor for us."

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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