McNair's shoulder surgery a success

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair's surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his non-throwing shoulder was a successful one, according to coach Brian Billick. Billick said the prognosis is encouraging enough that McNair could recuperate in six to eight weeks.

When asked if the procedure went well, Billick replied: "Yes it did, and it was needed. There was something, the labrum, this that or the other, that was more severe."

The former NFL Co-Most Valuable Player's disappointing season was halted Monday afternoon when he was placed on injured reserve.

Under contract for 2008 with a $4 million base salary, McNair could be cut during the offseason after a turnover-plagued second season in Baltimore that followed last year's 13-3 campaign where McNair passed for over 3,000 yards with 16 touchdown passes.

Billick remained noncommittal Wednesday when asked to comment on whether the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback has a future with the organization.

"We'll have to see," Billick said. "We'll have to see as we progress through it, how he progresses and see what his plans are and, as we will with every player, look at what our options are going forward as we move into that after the season."

With McNair on the shelf, the Ravens plan to start Kyle Boller for the final four games with rookie Troy Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, operating as his backup.

The Ravens don't plan to sign another quarterback at this point.

"At this late date, I don't know who it is you'd bring in," Billick said. "A lot of the league has been two quarterbacks most of the year, so the third was really a luxury. So, we're likely to stay that way."

Smith struggled during the preseason with no touchdown passes and one interception, but the fifth-round draft pick from Ohio State is now one injury away from being the Ravens' quarterback.

The scenario of being forced to insert Smith is practically a nightmare to Billick.

"Anytime you put a rookie in late in the year, it's not only the fact that you're putting in a rookie, it's a rookie who has not played substantially since preseason," Billick said. "If it happens early, at least there's a bit of a rhythm. Late like this, yeah, it's a shock to his system. It would be a shock to my system."

"You deal with it. Certainly, there are things that we readily will access that fit him best. I don't know if we'd ask him to do everything that we'd ask Kyle or Steve to do, but we'll have a package ready for him should that happen."

INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Chris McAlister (knee strain), defensive tackle Justin Bannan (sprained medial collateral ligament) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (high-ankle sprain) didn't practice.

Billick seemed to indicate that McAlister was being rested.

"We weren't going to put them through much physically," Billick said.

Tight end Todd Heap (strained hamstring) was limited along with fullback Justin Green (thigh), safety Ed Reed (hip), cornerback Samari Rolle (shoulder) and safety Gerome Sapp (hamstring).

Billick didn't offer a concrete opinion on Heap's potential availability for Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Linebacker Bart Scott broke his left hand during Monday night's loss to the New England Patriots, and it's visibly swollen.

"It's all right, it doesn't hurt," he said. "It doesn't matter to me. I don't give a crap. I'm playing."

Scott practiced, as did running back Cory Ross (head), linebacker Gary Stills (knee) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (hip).

QUICK HITS: Colts coach Tony Dungy's book on football and life remains a best-seller. "It's still going pretty well, actually, better than we ever thought it was going to," Dungy said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "As of today, still in the top 10 on the New York Times' list, which is really hard to believe. It's just been a pleasant surprise to me." ... Dungy still hasn't forgotten the unfriendly greeting the Colts received in Baltimore last January prior to their 15-6 playoff victory. "Honestly, we weren't prepared for what we got," Dungy said. "When we came back for the playoff game, a lot more emotion, a lot more energy. The move of the team had been discussed a lot more. We talked about that, what type of emotional energy will probably be in the stadium when we come this week." .... Dungy offered this take on the Ravens after watching their 27-24 loss to New England: "Well, I think it just reinforced my opinion of the Ravens. We've played them the last two years, and they're a difficult team, a team that nobody really wants to play because they give you so many problems on defense. They're hard to prepare for, they're very physical." ... The Ravens practiced indoors due to the snowstorm that blanketed the area.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Mike Pereira commented on the officiating controversies from the Baltimore Ravens' 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots during HBO's Inside the NFL program Wednesday night.

ON THE TIMEOUT CALLED BY DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR REX RYAN: "You have to be practical. We knew going in if it was a last-second request that we weren't going to be able to recognize whether it was a head coach or an assistant. We might miss the snap. We recognize in last-second situations that we were going to grant it. If it was the head coach, we weren't going to deny an opportunity to call a timeout."

ON THE DEFENSIVE HOLDING CALL ON JAMAINE WINBORNE: "Well, I think the first thing you need to do is understand the rule. You can have contact within five yards. Once you're beyond five yards, you have to release. At this point, 10 yards downfield, he has him wrapped up around the chest. Not only is it holding, it's illegal contact."

ON JABAR GAFFNEY'S GAME-WINNING TOUCHDOWN CATCH THAT WAS UPHELD ON INSTANT-REPLAY REVIEW:

"Well, it seems to be a little loose is the operative word. It's the type of play I always talk about. You put it out for everyone to look at. Sixty percent say it's a catch, maybe some say it's 40. That's not conclusive enough to change the ruling that has been made. The hand never came off the ball. He maintained control."

IS THAT ENOUGH TO REVERSE IT IF IT HADN'T BEEN RULED A SCORE ON THE FIELD? "No, it's a 60-40, 50-50 play."

ON SAMARI ROLLE'S ACCUSATION THAT HEAD LINESMAN PHIL McKINNELY REPEATEDLY CALLED HIM 'BOY: "Well, I've talked to Phil McKinnely and there's two sides to every story. His interpretation is clearly different. It's not nearly the same in the context that it's been represented. He's a former player. He's an African-American. He's a powerful guy. Emotions run high. We need to look at everything in context and then whatever decision will be made will be made."

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

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