Landry's season on the brink

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens officially ruled out strong safety Dawan Landry for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans due to a spinal cord concussion that has kept him out of the past six games.

Landry is still experiencing tingling sensations in his neck, and visited a doctor Tuesday. He's a potential candidate to be placed on injured reserve if he doesn't return soon.

"I would say Dawan is close to that point right now," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We're still looking at those results. We should know something by the end of the week one way or another."

At the midway point of the season, Harbaugh acknowledged that the team can only wait so long before ultimately needing the roster spot for a healthy player.

"If a guy is ready to come back in the near future, then you feel like you're willing to wait because you've got a good football player," Harbaugh said. "But at some point in time you've got to cut your losses and do something with the roster, bring a player in who can help you right now."

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister didn't practice Wednesday due to his problematic right knee. He was in Toronto, Canada visiting yet another doctor for a second opinion.

McAlister went to South Florida to visit another specialist last week. He has missed the past two games and is considering whether to undergo season-ending surgery or attempt to play on a damaged knee that has significant cartilage issues.

Meanwhile, running back Willis McGahee (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis.

"Willis looked good, it's the ankle more than the knee," Harbaugh said. "The knee is feeling really good, he says, and he's working the ankle back. So, this should be a good week for him."

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck/knee), defensive lineman Brandon McKinney (shoulder), running back Ray Rice (chest), cornerback Samari Rolle (neck), linebacker Bart Scott (chest), offensive tackle Adam Terry (knee) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (thigh) all practiced on a limited basis.

The Texans, who are already missing quarterback Matt Schaub due to a right knee injury, received bad news Wednesday when their leading tackler, linebacker Zac Diles, broke his left leg in practice. He underwent surgery to repair his tibia and has been declared out for the season.

ELECTION REACTION: Several players expressed sentiments of excitement and awe one day after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

"I thought it was amazing," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I couldn't believe I was watching what was happening. From both parties' standpoint, it seemed like both of them said something was accomplished here, like no one really lost, like the country was winning.

"To hear that man [Obama] speak, there's something in his words. Some politicians just like to blow smoke up, you know, but I just listened to everything he had to say. It just gives you hope, it gives you a lot of hope."

Added wide receiver Derrick Mason: "It was an event that I will forever remember regardless of what happens in the next four, eight years. I will remember that one moment at 11:02 when he was announced our new president. To see his children walk out with him that was the biggest thing because you have two African-American girls walking out and they can always say, 'My daddy was president.'

"I look at my daughter and my son and say, 'You know what? You could be president one day, regardless of what the situation is.' It's a good day, but it doesn't stop here. He has a lot of work ahead of him, and he understands that."

Harbaugh said he didn't get a chance to take in the election coverage while working on the game plan.

"No matter your political affiliation or who you voted for, I think all the guys in the room, coaches and players, we felt a sense of pride for what's been accomplished and where the country is because of what happened last night," Harbaugh said. "We're excited about where it's going."

ROAD WARRIORS: Suggs had a mischievous grin on his face when asked to explain the Ravens' turnaround from going 1-7 on the road a year ago under former coach Brian Billick to being 2-2 so far this season under Harbaugh. He seemed to take a backhanded shot at Billick without mentioning his name.

"I don't know, it could be the coach," Suggs said. "It could be the coach. He's done a good job the night before the game getting us ready, getting us mentally prepared. I think it's just the atmosphere around here, around the building. He's got everybody ready to play.

"You got a good feeling from him. He's definitely going to be around a long time. He's doing a great job, and we've just got to keep knocking down wins for him."

Added Mason: "He's not a rookie. I think he's accepted this challenge as being a first-year head coach. We're buying into what coach Harbaugh is preaching and we're staying the course, and that breeds success."

Harbaugh weighed in on the significance of success on the road.

"I think it says you're a good football team," he said. "If you look at the teams that win on the road, they're good teams. If you want to prove yourself as a good team, you've got to win on the road."

ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens re-signed veteran quarterback Todd Bouman after cutting him Saturday to add depth in the secondary.

"It was one of those deals where they needed the roster spot, and you can only have so many guys up," Bouman said. "I just stayed close by and waited for them to call me back."

The Ravens also signed safety Daren Stone (Maine), a 6-3, 215-pounder formerly with the Atlanta Falcons. He tried out for the team a few weeks ago.

Cornerback Anwar Phillips was placed on the practice squad again after being cut from the active roster after being active for the Browns game.

Undrafted rookie wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright was cut.

FEELING HIS OATS: Linebacker Bart Scott doesn't sound too concerned about containing speedy Texans rookie running back Steve Slaton.

The Ravens feature the NFL's top-ranked rushing defense, allowing just 64.3 yards per game.

"Young Steve Slaton is a lot more confident about what he's doing in the offense, and now we got to worry about him a little bit more because of his confidence," Scott said. "And he is just dumb enough to think he can run on us."

HONORED: Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 17 of 29 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 37-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"I didn't really know until somebody said congratulations, I didn't know what they were talking about," Flacco said. "It's pretty cool, and it just shows you how far we've come as an offense. It's all about our offense, just as a whole."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens have been reviewing their scouting reports on the Texans from prior to the game postponed by Hurricane Ike in the second week of the season. "We reached in and pulled out the notes, and we were kind of amazed at how much of it still applied," Harbaugh said. "We were able to use a lot of the stuff that we practiced in Week 2, and a lot of the stuff we couldn't use, but we did carry over a lot of the game plan." ... Suggs scored his second touchdown on an interception return in the past three weeks against the Browns, emphatically spiking the football at the wall behind the end zone and taunting the fans. "I wanted to throw it into the Dawg Pound," he said. "I really wanted to jump in there, but I had a feeling they weren't going to welcome me with open arms. I wanted to chuck it at them, but then I thought, 'No, that may not be a good thing for my image.' So, I thought I'd throw it at the wall and do a goofy dance." ... Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said that life is finally getting back to normal in Houston after the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike. "We had two guys on our team actually lose their houses, a lot of damage to guys' roofs and things like that," Johnson said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "Guys let guys stay over at their house for a few days until they got situated. I think it was something that brought the team closer together. Guys were able to bond a little more."

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

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