X-rays on Boller's toe negative; return uncertain

Updated: September 12, 2005, 6:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller is expected to miss this Sunday's game against Tennessee with a hyperextended right big toe, meaning Anthony Wright would make his first start since facing the Titans in the 2003 playoffs.

Anthony Wright
Wright

Kyle Boller
Boller

Boller was injured Sunday night while being sacked by Larry Tripplett in the third quarter of the Ravens' 24-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He was 15 of 23 for 141 yards and one interception before the injury -- which prompted cheers from some fans.

"I love the fans of Baltimore, but that was a little classless," defensive end Tony Weaver told The Baltimore Sun. "Kyle is our guy. He is our quarterback and we are going to stand by him."

Boller was replaced by Wright, who went 19-for-31 for 214 yards and two interceptions.

An examination Monday revealed no broken bone in Boller's toe, and coach Brian Billick said ligament damage was minimal. But the injury will keep the quarterback sidelined against a Tennessee team coming off a 34-7 loss in Pittsburgh.

"I would bet that Kyle's not ready to go this week. I'll wait on the doctors, but that one we're most assured of," Billick said Monday. "What the time frame is beyond the week I couldn't say, but I can almost guarantee without being a doctor that Kyle won't go this week."

The Ravens have a bye following Sunday's game, so Boller would get three weeks rest before Baltimore resumes play at home against the New York Jets on Oct. 2.

Wright is no stranger to the job. After Boller hurt his thigh as a rookie against the St. Louis Rams in November 2003, Wright started the final seven games of the regular season and guided Baltimore to the AFC North title.

Along the way, he led the Ravens to their biggest comeback ever, erasing a 41-24 second-half deficit in a 44-41 overtime win over Seattle. In the playoffs, Wright went 20-for-37 for 214 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' loss to the Titans.

He missed last year after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, but Wright is healthy now and ready to build on his performance against the Colts.

"First of all, it's unfortunate what happened to Kyle. But I'm always going to take advantage of an opportunity to start," Wright said. "Those opportunities don't come very often. I'm just going to make sure that I go out and play consistently, not get outside the boundaries of this offense and try to put points on the board."

Wright's backup is rookie Derek Anderson, the Ravens' sixth-round pick in the 2005 draft. Billick said the Ravens will likely seek experienced depth by signing a veteran, perhaps Kordell Stewart, who served as Boller's backup last year.

About the only positive the Ravens could derive from their humbling loss to the Colts is that Wright received ample opportunity to tune up for Tennessee. That's one reason Billick called several timeouts in the closing minutes although Baltimore had no chance to win.

"I had a quarterback that had a year off. He needed those snaps," Billick said. "I wanted to get as many viable snaps with Anthony Wright -- going into the Tennessee game -- as I could. Clearly the game was out of reach, but it was a tactical decision to get Anthony the reps."

Wright produced Baltimore's lone touchdown on a 17-yard pass to Daniel Wilcox with 13 seconds left. The throw enabled the Ravens to avoid their first shutout since 2002 and solidified Billick's comfort level with Wright at quarterback.

"The good news is we've been down this road with Anthony," Billick said. "The qualifier is, with the year off Anthony had a lot of rust to knock off, and I think he's done that."

Wright feels the same way.

"I think it'll help a lot. It didn't really catch me off guard, but I was not really expecting to play this early in the year," he said. "Being able to take the snaps with the [starters] will really help me a lot for this week."

For Wright to be effective, he will need better protection from a line that permitted three sacks.

"Kyle got hurt, so we take that personally," guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "Hopefully, we can correct those things that we did and put it behind us. A lot of things that we did, we did to ourselves."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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