Notebook: Smith's health worsens

BALTIMORE -- The medical saga of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Troy Smith took another negative turn as his tonsil infection flared up again Thursday morning and he was hospitalized, missing the preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons. Smith is expected to be at Union Memorial Hospital for at least two days, and is being given intravenous fluids to combat the infection.

The former Heisman Trophy's fever r eturned, dashing hopes that he might take a few snaps against Atlanta as rookie first-round draft pick Joe Flacco started for the second week in a row and recently-signed journeyman quarterback Casey Bramlet finished the game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Smith hasn't practiced in a week due to swollen tonsils and other symptoms, including fever and nausea. However, team spokesman Kevin Byrne said that Smith is not going to need to have his tonsils removed.

The 6-foot, 215-pound former Ohio State star has lost roughly 13 pounds since incurring an illness that kept him out of a scheduled start against the St. Louis Rams and the final dress rehearsal leading up to the Ravens' Sept. 7 season-opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

With former starter Kyle Boller dealing with a serious injury to his throwing shoulder, believed to be a partially torn labrum, that has endangered his season, the Ravens' quarterback situation is in flux heading into a week of preparation before the launch of the regular season. It's unclear still if Boller will need to undergo surgery to repair his right shoulder.

"There's no surgery scheduled or planned for Kyle Boller," Byrne said.

Boller has been unable to throw since suffering a devastating hit against the Minnesota Vikings in the second preseason game. While jogging, Boller hasn't been moving his right arm. Boller attended the game, but wasn't in uniform.

"We know that we have all the information on the shoulder, and he's in the process of treating it with certain things," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We'll know by the weekend if he can throw and be ready to go in a week."

When asked specifically if Boller has a tear in his shoulder, Harbaugh declined to elaborate.

"The great thing about it is I don't have to give out that information," Harbaugh said. "We'll get that to you at another time."

The Ravens signed Bramlet, a former San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins reserve, off waivers Wednesday. He arrived on a red-eye flight into Baltimore early Thursday, and replaced Flacco in the second quarter.

The Ravens are monitoring the quarterback market and may consider signing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter Chris Simms or Miami Dolphins quarterback John Beck if they become available via trade or if they're released.

"We're open to any and every possibility, but I would not think we would need to go out and get another quarterback to be our starter before opening day," Harbaugh said. "If lightning strikes, that's a possibility. But that's not what we're looking to do right now."

INJURY REPORT: Running back Cory Ross left the game with a right ankle sprain and went to the locker room for X-rays, but the results were negative

Return specialist Yamon Figurs left the game with a mild concussion.

"I got my bell rung a litlle bit," Figurs said. "This is the first concussion that I can remember."

Several key players didn't play, including running back Willis McGahee (arthroscopic left knee surgery), safety Ed Reed (right shoulder), cornerbacks Chris McAlister (right knee), Samari Rolle, Fabian Washington (hamstring) and Derrick Martin (right shoulder), linebackers Tavares Gooden (concussion) and Ray Lewis, wide receiver Marcus Smith (separated right shoulder) and nose guard Kelly Gregg (arthroscopic left knee surgery).

Justin Bannan started in place of Gregg with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained medial collateral ligament) seeing his first preseason action.

Nick Greisen started with Lewis out. It's believed that Rolle and Lewis aren't injured and were just being rested for the Bengals game.

Frank Walker and Corey Ivy started at cornerback. Safeties Jim Leonhard and Tom Zbikowski took turns returning punts.

Rookie second-round pick Ray Rice started his fourth consecutive preseason game in relief of McGahee, rushing for 37 yards on seven carries.

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


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