Notebook: McAlister doubtful for Bills game

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick reiterated that he regards cornerback Chris McAlister as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, expressing optimism that he could return as soon as Nov. 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers following a bye.

McAlister injured his right knee during a 22-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams in what the team describes as a strained knee, dismissing a WJFK-1300 report that the Pro Bowl defensive back had torn his posterior cruciate ligament and could be out a month or longer.

"It's not four to six weeks, I know that," Billick said. "I don't know where that one came out. Very doubtful. I'm sure we'll list him as doubtful, but the prognosis is very optimistic for Pittsburgh, at least what I've been told. That's just from the doctors and the trainers. I don't have the sources you all have."

McAlister said he could be back in a week, possibly two, describing his condition as day-to-day. He didn't practice Wednesday.

"Who knows how long it's going to be?" he said. "It feels better every day. I woke up one day and could barely walk. Now, I'm moving around just fine."

When asked to clarify what's exactly wrong with his knee, McAlister declined to elaborate.

"I'm not going to tell you anything [team medical staff] won't tell you," he said.

McAlister's absence significantly affects the secondary.

Cornerback Samari Rolle, who was limited to nickel duty last week after missing three games with an illness, will now be slated to start and will likely draw the assignment of guarding Bills star wide receiver Lee Evans.

Corey Ivy will start his fourth game in a row at cornerback, and seldom-utilized former third-round pick David Pittman said the coaching staff informed him that he will be activated this week. He'll likely work behind Derrick Martin in nickel situations.

"I just have to do more, but you can't try to replace C-Mac," Rolle said. "There's no way you can. He's an All-Pro player. We just need to hold it down for him until he gets back."

When asked if he was ready to play an entire game, Rolle replied: "I can't make that declaration yet. I feel better. We'll find out on Sunday."

INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) didn't practice along with middle linebacker Ray Lewis (knee), quarterback Steve McNair (back), linebacker Gary Stills (knee) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (foot).

"We had a bunch of guys who were limping," Billick said. "It was kind of a 'get-your-legs-back-underneath-you' workout."

Wilcox, who has been nursing ankle and knee injuries, said that he won't likely be back until after the bye.

"It's been a rough year," he said.

Running back Willis McGahee (knee) was limited in practice as well as center Mike Flynn (sprained knee), wide receiver Derrick Mason (knee), offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), offensive tackle Adam Terry (sprained ankle) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (knee).

Flynn is preparing to start, taking back his spot from Chris Chester.

The Ravens expect most of those injured players to participate Sunday with the possible exception of Terry and Ogden.

"Moved around pretty well," Billick said of Terry, who practiced for the first time since getting hurt against the San Francisco 49ers. He was limited to individual drills.

Defensive end Trevor Pryce is looking forward to having metal pins removed from his surgically-repaired broken wrist.

"That will be a weight off my wrist and my mind," he said. "As soon as they're out, I can play."

Quarterback Kyle Boller, who will start in place of McNair, said he doesn't have any ill effects from banging up his knee against St. Louis.

"It's all right," he said. "Obviously, it's a little bit sore. It will be fine by game-time. I've still got a couple of days left to heal it."

Meanwhile, the Bills declared out defensive end Ryan Denney (foot), safety Jim Leonhard (calf) and receiver Peerless Price (neck).

EDWARDS UNDER CENTER: Bills coach Dick Jauron confirmed that rookie Trent Edwards will start at quarterback Sunday over veteran J.P. Losman.

"He's been pretty consistent in terms of his accuracy, in terms of his reads," Jauron said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "He's kept us on the field more consistently. What we haven't done is score. We don't score nearly enough points to keep us in football games, let alone to win them."

Added Evans: "He's very talented. He certainly has the tools to be a very good quarterback. He steps out there with a lot of poise and a lot of confidence."

QUICK HITS: Kicker Matt Stover was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on a career-high tying five field goals. Stover, who leads the NFL with 18 field goals, booted kicks from 43, 42, 23, 31 and 36 yards against St. Louis. "I've been here long enough to know that Stover is pretty automatic," Boller said. ... The Ravens re-signed kicker Rhys Lloyd and running back Cory Ross after cutting them Saturday due to injuries along the offensive line. Offensive tackle Mike Kracalik and offensive guard Ikechuku Ndukwe were placed back on the practice squad.

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

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