OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens starting cornerback Fabian Washington is out for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, a development that will likely propel rookie Lardarius Webb into the starting lineup.
Washington injured his knee during the fourth quarter of a 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts when he drove running back Joseph Addai out of bounds and landed awkwardly on the side of his left leg.
Carried off the field by trainers, Washington was on crutches after the game and hoping that a magnetic resonance imaging exam would only reveal a sprained knee.
This is the worst-case scenario, though.
“It looks like he has an ACL tear,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “We’ll find out later. Maybe the MRI will come back and tell us something different, but, as of right now, we’re proceeding as if he’ll be done for the season.”
Washington confirmed that prognosis shortly after Harbaugh’s press conference on his Twitter account.
“Yes I do have a torn ACL,” Washington wrote. “But I’ll get through this. Go Ravens.”
Washington started the Ravens’ first 10 games of the season with no interceptions and 40 tackles.
The Ravens are expected to insert Webb, their third-round draft pick and kickoff return, into Washington’s spot.
He’ll have assistance, though, from Chris Carr and Frank Walker. With Washington headed to injured reserve, the Ravens could sign another cornerback to the roster.
“Lardarius is going to be a big part of the plans,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not sure exactly how we’re going to set that up right now. Of course, Chris Carr is in the mix and Frank Walker is in the mix and we’ll see if we bring somebody else in at corner to kind of bolster us up a little bit.
“But we’ll be sharing the duties with that. Obviously, Lardarius has played well so he’ll be a big part of that.”
Meanwhile, there was no concrete update on Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs’ sprained medial collateral ligament.
Suggs suffered a minor tear and is expected to miss at least two to three weeks. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to play Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it’s regarded as a long shot.
“We’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “If Terrell can play, he’ll be playing. If he can’t be playing, there will be a lot of guys in the mix like it was this week. I know one thing: He’s going to do everything that he can to get back.”
THE LATERAL: Harbaugh acknowledged that free safety Ed Reed shouldn’t have lateraled the football during a punt return in the final seconds Sunday.
Reed wound up fumbling away possession back to the Colts, which allowed them to run out the clock.
“I talked to Ed about it this morning and about a lot of different things,” Harbaugh said. “It was a great conversation. It was an excellent game, and he had no intention of flipping that ball before that ball was punted and when it was in the air. He just made a mistake. I kind of related it to my mistake.
“I think we both made an overaggressive mistake in an ancient moment, trying to do something a little too fast to try to find a way to make something happen and we both overreached. He overreached on that play. That’s one play in the game. It’s not the reason we lost the game, but I think it’s indicative of things we can all do better.”
Harbaugh defended the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who had one interception against Peyton Manning.
“Ed Reed probably had his best game of the season,” Harbaugh said. “He tackled extremely well. Weren’t we talking about tackling a couple of weeks ago with Ed Reed? Ed Reed came out and fronted up and tackled people as well as you could do it. And he covered very well, had the pick on Peyton where he set Peyton up a little bit and got him to throw where he wanted to throw it.”
Contrary to rumors, Harbaugh indicated that Reed didn’t just wave Carr off the field and put himself in for the final punt return. Per Harbaugh, Reed communicated beforehand with special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg.
“Jerry and Ed have a communication system where if Ed feels like he can take it and if Jerry wants him out there, they’ll give him the thumbs up,” Harbaugh said. “We put him out there. Pretty obvious why we did it. He’s got a chance to make a play, and he made a real nice play on the bouncing ball.”
Reed repeatedly declined interview requests after the game and has yet to comment on the play.
TIMEOUT REDUX: Harbaugh said he’s fully aware of the instant replay rules and timeouts.
Harbaugh has drawn criticism for calling a timeout and then throwing a red flag to call for an instant replay with officials charging the Ravens the timeout and not letting him withdraw his challenge.
Ultimately, the Ravens squandered both of their final two timeouts during the sequence as they lost the challenge.
“It’s not generally aware of the procedures, I know the procedures inside and out,” he said. “I basically got it backwards. If I had to do it all over again, throw the flag. You throw the flag to get the timeout and take a chance at maybe you get a different spot than what you got.
“Once I had called the timeout, I tried to get too much done. I tried to flip it and get the challenge before the timeout and that was the mistake. That was my mistake. It was a bad job on my part. I should have taken a minute and thought it through a little better in the heat of battle and done a better job with that.”
ROUGH GAME FOR RAY LEWIS: Middle linebacker Ray Lewis was embarrassingly juked by Colts running back Joseph Addai on his touchdown run.
He was also exposed in pass coverage against the Colts’ tight ends.
Harbaugh defended the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who led the Ravens with eight tackles Sunday and also forced a fumble.
“I think Ray played really well,” Harbaugh said. “Every player is not going to make every play. It’s give and take and backs can make people miss. He came back and caused the fumble on the two-yard line that stopped that drive cold.
“Ray is an accomplished player, he’s a future Hall of Famer and he’s still playing at that level, at a really high level. No problem with the way Ray’s playing.”
Lewis declined an interview request after the game.
He hasn’t conducted interviews after losses several times this year with the exception of defeats against the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings as he didn’t talk after both losses to the Cincinnati Bengals.
QUICK HITS: The Ravens won the opening coin toss. Strangely, though, they decided to defer until the second half. And the Colts marched downfield and scored a touchdown to open the game on a Manning pass to tight end Dallas Clark, who became the Colts’ all-time leader for tight end receptions over John Mackey on the play. Why did they defer? “We had a long discussion about that, and I think we could have done it either way,” Harbaugh said. “You can hash it out either way you want, but I felt like no matter what happened on the opening drive, whether we go out there and stuff Peyton Manning and we get the ball back or whether they take the ball down and score, which obviously wasn’t the idea, we have a chance to go back out and answer that. I like the way we’re playing defense right now.” … An instant replay review of whether Reed’s knee was down was overruled. The Ravens thought that Reed was down before he lateraled, and they thought it was a forward lateral. They’re waiting to hear back from the league office. “Our feeling was that his knee was down,” Harbaugh said. “Our feeling was that it was a forward lateral, so why was it ruleD the way it was ruled? But we’ll get that back from the league. They do a good job of letting us know how those things work.”