Notebook: McAlister’s season in doubt

Street Talk Notebook: McAlister’s season in doubt

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OWINGS MILLS — The saga of embattled Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister took another negative twist with the revelation that a problematic right knee injury could require season-ending surgery, which would cause the three-time Pro Bowl selection to be placed on injured reserve.

McAlister received a second medical opinion from South Florida orthopedic surgeon John Uribe, and could receive a recommendation by the end of the week on whether he should undergo surgery. McAlister, who has major cartilage and posterior cruciate ligament issues, was benched two weeks ago against the Miami Dolphins.

"It’s really between the doctors and Chris to make a decision about what’s best for Chris going forward this year and for the rest of his career, how it’s going to affect the rest of his career," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "We’re really hopeful that he’ll play for us this year."

When asked if injured reserve is a possibility for McAlister, Harbaugh replied: "Potentially. It’s a choice that I think the doctors and Chris will have to make as far as how much more damage can be done."

Ravens free safety Ed Reed recently said that McAlister has a similar knee condition to nose guard Kelly Gregg, which prompted him to undergo microfracture surgery to try to promote cartilage growth.

Although McAlister participated in individual drills at the beginning of practice, backpedaling and catching passes from secondary coach Chuck Pagano, he was listed as not practicing on the official injury report.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen yet," McAlister said. "I’m waiting to find out what the doctor has to say about it."

McAlister was deactivated for the Ravens’ 29-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders two weeks after surrendering a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Marvin Harrison in a 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts where he had trouble recovering ground as well as planting his right foot and reacting to Harrison’s patterns.

Harbaugh responded to questions after the Colts game about McAlister’s health by saying, "He’s not hurt," with McAlister adding: "My knee is fine. It’s not an issue."

Meanwhile, there have been several unconfirmed rumors that McAlister, who has a history of off-field problems, had been punished for the Miami game because he violated team rules prior to the Colts game.

However, Harbaugh has been adamant that’s not the case even though he chided McAlister for being dressed in a T-shirt and shorts in the lobby of the team hotel prior to the Dolphins game.

Prior to the Raiders game, McAlister told reporters to "read between the lines" when asked if he had violated team rules.

Now, his status remains up in the air due to a knee injury that has plagued him since reporting to training camp and ended his season prematurely last year.

ROLLE RETURNS: Cornerback Samari Rolle is expected to be a game-time decision after missing the past five games as he underwent neck surgery.

Nonetheless, Harbaugh said there’s a good chance Rolle will play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Rolle practiced Wednesday on a limited basis, but wore a red jersey that signifies he’s still off-limits to contact.

“He is cleared for contact,” Harbaugh said. "I think it’s a matter of the fact that he hasn’t been out there moving around with the helmet on and all the movements, and just kind of see how his neck muscles respond.

"I think we just need to see how he goes through practice and how it responds, how he feels after a good hard practice. It could go up to game time to make a decision, but we’re hopeful."

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis predicted that Rolle would rejoin his teammates this week.

"Samari is coming back this week, which is a great edge for us," Lewis said.

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens ruled out strong safety Dawan Landry, who will miss his sixth game in a row since suffering a spinal-cord concussion against the Browns.

Running back Willis McGahee (ankle) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (thigh) didn’t practice.

Offensive tackle Adam Terry (arthroscopic right knee surgery) returned to practice for the first time since tearing his lateral meniscus and spraining his knee.

"So far so good, if I keep going without any setbacks, we’ll be rolling," Terry said. "Just walking around, it feels really good.  Going out there and playing is a different situation."

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (sprained left ankle), return specialist Yamon Figurs (left knee contusion), offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck stinger), tight end Todd Heap (neck) and cornerback Frank Walker (thigh) were limited.

Reed (nerve impingement) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (ankle) participated fully.

ROSTER MOVES: With running back Marcus Mason signed off the Ravens’ practice squad to the New York Jets’ active roster following Jesse Chatman’s season-ending knee injury and cornerback Anwar Phillips cut, team officials filled those practice-squad vacancies with tight end Isaac Smolko (Penn State) and running back Matt Lawrence (Massachusetts).

QUICK HITS: Not practicing for Cleveland: safety Sean Jones (knee), offensive guard Ryan Tucker (knee), fullback Lawrence Vickers (ankle) and defensive end Corey Williams (shoulder). Safety Mike Adams (hamstring), linebacker Shantee Orr (foot), defensive tackle Shaun Smith (hand) and wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (quadriceps) were limited. … Linebacker Bart Scott declined to take the bait when asked if he was concerned about the Browns’ rampant history of staph infections. “I am too big of a veteran to fall for that one,” he said. … Linebacker Terrell Suggs isn’t lobbying to be involved in “The Suggs Package,” the Ravens’ double-quarterback offense. “I like to hit people,” he said. “I don’t like to get hit, so I’m just going to stay out of there. Don’t be fooled. I don’t think my hands are that good yet.”

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

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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