Ravens' notebook, injury update

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OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and All-Pro offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden's status remains in serious doubt with a nagging hyperextended left big toe, according to coach Brian Billick.

"B.J. is definitely out for the year," Billick said Tuesday night on his weekly WBAL radio show. "It's just a shame."

It was an alarming development to the team that Ogden, who limped off the field early in the second quarter and didn't return in the Ravens' 27-20 loss Monday night to the Cincinnati Bengals, was unable to make it through the game despite initially suffering the injury nine months ago.

"The most serious is probably Jonathan," Billick said. "He didn't re-injure the toe, but he's going through the pain.

"It's going to be painful all year long. It's a matter of him adjusting to it. I don't know if Jonathan will be able to come back from this or not."

Ogden pondered retirement during the offseason after aggravating the injury in January during a playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. After consulting with Carolina Panthers orthopedic surgeon Robert Anderson, a noted specialist, Ogden and team officials decided to not have surgery and recommended rehabilitation and rest.

"Whether it was surgery or rehab, they chose the course of action together," said Billick, who didn't hold his usual weekly session with reporters. "Jonathan worked very hard. I think Jonathan acted responsibly.

"I understand the frustration, but I don't think Jonathan did anything wrong. They really felt that this was the better way to go about it."

Meanwhile, linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps), along with quarterback Steve McNair (groin), tight end Daniel Wilcox (ankle) and Ogden received treatment at the team's training complex.

Lewis insisted after the game that he had torn his triceps, but team spokesman Kevin Byrne said that team doctor Leigh Anne Curl diagnosed it as a strain akin to a hamstring pull and that the team wouldn't have sent Lewis back into the game with a tear. Lewis, along with a few other players, was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Tuesday.

It's believed that Lewis, who was credited with a team-high 14 tackles, is planning to play regardless of whether he only has one good arm. In the locker room after the game, Lewis required assistance to close his suitcase.

Wilcox was on crutches Monday night with a sprained right ankle. He had just recovered from a sprained left ankle.

Under league rules, the Ravens aren't required to release an official injury report until after Wednesday's practice.

"We don't have to give an injury update until after practice," Byrne said.

McNair was replaced in the fourth quarter by backup Kyle Boller because of the injury.

"He's a soldier," running back Willis McGahee said. "He still got us a chance to win. That right there shows the character of him.

"He's out there playing hurt. He wants to win. He could have easily sat out, but he chose not to."

Sams, who's in the final year of his contract, is likely to be replaced by rookie speedster Yamon Figurs. This marks the second consecutive season that Sams has suffered a season-ending injury at Paul Brown Stadium as last November he fractured his ankle.

FLAGGED: Rookie offensive tackle Marshal Yanda stepped in on the right side when Adam Terry shifted over to his natural left tackle spot in place of Ogden, but the former Iowa standout committed three penalties in his NFL debut. He jumped offsides twice and was flagged for holding once.

"I really hurt the team," said Yanda, who also helped clear a path for running back Musa Smith's 6-yard touchdown run. "It just makes you feel horrible. I hurt the team bad. It kills drive. We've got to score points, and I ended three drives. It's horrible and you can't do that. I let everyone down."

EXPLANATION: When the Ravens had a 3rd-and-1 situation at their own 35-yard line, Billick opted to throw instead of run with McNair overthrowing Derrick Mason for an interception to defensive end Robert Geathers.Two plays later, Carson Palmer hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the game-winning touchdown.

When asked why he didn't run the ball, Billick replied: "You anticipate what they're doing and you make the call that makes the best chance of succeeding."

Baltimore ran the ball 25 times for 107 yards and a 4.1 average, passing it 40 times for 207 yards and a 4.9 average.

DISAPPOINTED: Rookie fullback Le'Ron McCLain started over veteran Justin Green, but fumbled while fighting for extra yardage on his first NFL reception.

"I overdid it," McClain said. "I'll learn from that one. Sometimes, you just have to go down and protect the football. That's the most important thing."

QUICK HITS: After an unproductive preseason, McGahee rebounded with a game-high 77 yards on 19 carries and a 4.1 average. "It wasn't enough, I didn't do enough," McGahee said. "I'm not pointing the finger at nobody." … In his first regular-season start in place of departed All-Pro Adalius Thomas, linebacker Jarret Johnson registered the Ravens' lone sack by dropping Palmer for a 13-yard loss. … Smith's touchdown run marked his first score since his rookie season, dating all the way back to Dec. 21, 2003 against the Cleveland Browns. He finished with 30 yards on five carries. … Massive defensive tackle Haloti Ngata lined up several yards deep at middle linebacker and safety on blitzes, collapsing the pocket and punishing Bengals running back Rudi Johnson.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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