Pulled left hamstring could sideline Pro Bowler

Updated: October 25, 2004, 6:02 PM ET
Associated Press

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Left tackle Jonathan Ogden will probably miss the Baltimore Ravens' game against the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday with a pulled left hamstring.

Jonathan Ogden
Offensive Tackle
Baltimore Ravens
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2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
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Ogden had to be helped off the field during the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 20-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The seven-time Pro Bowler was limping on Monday in the team complex, and a crutch rested against his cubicle in the locker room.

The Ravens (4-2) will wait until Wednesday to formally declare his status for Sunday's game against the Eagles, but coach Brian Billick indicated Baltimore was preparing to play without Ogden, running back Jamal Lewis and tight end Todd Heap.

"For us to be without three Pro Bowlers ... that's the biggest challenge for this team right now," Billick said Monday. "We're not configured right now the way we hoped we could be at this point in the season, but that's life in the NFL."

Lewis will miss the game while serving the second half of a two-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Heap has been sidelined since Sept. 19 with a sprained ankle.

Beating Philadelphia on the road is difficult enough, but the task has been made tougher by Lewis' suspension and a series of injuries handicapping an already struggling offensive unit. Baltimore mustered only 160 yards in offense against the Bills, 17 in the second half.

Right tackle Orlando Brown left the Buffalo game with a broken finger but was forced to return after Ogden went down. Ethan Brooks, who replaced Brown at right tackle, moved to left tackle to fill the void left by the departure of Ogden.

It's been that way all season for the Ravens, who have repeatedly shuffled their front five because of health issues. Replacing Ogden, though, is no small task.

"Guys go down, and guys have to step up," guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "But when a Pro Bowler goes down, it leaves a big gap."

Brooks, who has a broken left thumb, will probably play left tackle in place of Ogden against the Eagles.

"I've got the mind-set that I'm going to be playing. That's my focus right now," Brooks said.

It would be the second start of the season for Brooks, who would love to make a positive impression before becoming a free agent during the offseason.

"I'm looking forward to it. I need the opportunity," he said. "I need to get some good games under my belt. I've played a bit at right tackle, and now if I can get some games at left tackle and play well, it can only help me."

The line will be fortified by the return of Mike Flynn, who will see his first action after spending the past two months rehabilitating a shoulder injury. Billick said Flynn will back up Casey Rabach at center and play at guard.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press