Notebook: McNair's back sidelines him

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair didn't practice Thursday due to a stiff back, but Ravens coach Brian Billick doesn't expect him to miss Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams. McNair has been hampered with a groin pull since the season opener in Cincinnati. McNair had back surgery in 1999, the year he led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl.

"Just his back tightened up, I guess he slept on it wrong," Billick said. "It's not the groin. I'm not worried about it right now."

Backup quarterback Kyle Boller took all of the snaps with the first-team offense.

In limited action this year, Boller has performed fairly well, completing 33 of 51 passes for two touchdowns and one interception and a 84.4 quarterback rating.

"You've got to be ready, you never know in this league," Boller said after practice. "Definitely, I feel great. My body feels great. Mentally, I'm preparing each week. "That doesn't change. I got some reps with the guys, and every time that happens, it always helps out. We'll just wait and see how Steve is feeling."

INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Adam Terry (left sprained ankle) is off crutches, but didn't practice and is expected to miss the game.

Neither did tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained toe), center Mike Flynn (sprained medial collateral ligament). Flynn attended practice, wearing a brace on his right knee. Tight end Todd Heap (hamstring), cornerback Samari Rolle (illness) and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) were limited in practice.

Derrick Mason returned to full participation in practice after a bout with gastroenteritis, more commonly known as diarrhea. Linebacker Gary Stills returned after having his knee drained.

The Rams ruled out wide receiver Dante Hall (ankle), upgrading wide receiver Torry Holt (knee) and defensive end James Hall (pectoral) to full participation after missing Wednesday's workout.

'BUDDY LEE' STRIKES AGAIN: Kelly Gregg had been waiting since last December for another chance to sack the quarterback.

The burly nose guard sacked quarterback Trent Dilfer, penetrating the backfield during a 9-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

"I was lucky, I don't think they even blocked me," Gregg said. "It's always nice to get a sack. I'm so used to playing the run. Now, the guys are probably going to bust my chops." Gregg has already been hearing the constructive critiques from his teammates.

"We've been working with Kelly, he's been great firing off the ball with his stealth-like body," linebacker Bart Scott said. "We're all going to follow his lead."

REUNION: Cornerback Corey Ivy will see some familiar faces this weekend against the Rams. Ivy played in 16 games in 2005 with five starts for St. Louis, recording a career-high 60 tackles prior to signing with Baltimore after the season.

"That's going to be all right," Ivy said. "I'm going to go out there and play football and talk to my friends after the game. They've still got some great players like Torry Holt, so it's going to be a big challenge."

BACK IN A FLASH: Rhys Lloyd wasn't unemployed for long.

The strong-legged reserve kicker was cut Saturday due to a lack of depth at wide receiver, but was back on the active roster by Tuesday.

"I knew it was coming because they basically just said. 'We're going to waive you and sign you back as soon as we can,'" Lloyd said. "It would have been nice to travel with the guys to San Francisco, but I just stayed home and took a day or two off. It's just business. You don't get mad about it. They stuck to their word."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens brought in left-footed punter Jeremy Kapinos (Penn State) to practice one day to help prepare for left-footed Rams punter Donnie Jones. ... The Ravens have been flagged several times this season for throwing or spiking the ball after catches with wide receiver Derrick Mason being penalized against San Francisco for throwing the ball in frustration. It's been designated as a point of emphasis for NFL officials. "The league made a real point of it the last two weeks," Billick said. "A little frustrating. The competition committee has to look at it, I think, and decide, 'Is that what we really want called?'" ... The Ravens remain concerned about Rams defensive end Leonard Little even though he's having an off-year with no sacks and six quarterback pressures. A swift pass rusher like Little can accelerate a quarterback's internal clock. "It speeds up, but you can't rush it too much," McNair said "You've got to have two guys hitting him at the same time or a back coming out and chipping him. I think we'll game-plan that to a certain extent. In my mind, I'm going by the same clock. I don't want to speed up because receivers may not be out of their cut. I just have to be patient regardless of who's coming up and in."

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

Ravens Insider Top Stories