Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Saturday, August 15, 2009

RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Smith lost for season, Beck ok and more...


Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marcus Smith is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a prognosis confirmed by a magnetic resonance imaging exam conducted Friday.

Smith is going to seek a second opinion, but is slated to eventually have season-ending surgery to repair the damage to his right knee with Dr. James Andrews expected to perform the procedure.

"It's a bummer," Kevin Omell, Smith's agent, said in a telephone interview. "Marcus is down about it, but he'll be back. It's a setback. It's just bad luck. He was really looking forward to getting an opportunity to step up and be productive. He figured this would be his year."

Smith injured his right knee while making a tackle on a punt return during the Ravens' 23 -0 preseason win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Smith, a fourth-round pick from New Mexico last year, didn't catch a pass as a rookie. He was competing with Kelley Washington and Justin Harper for playing time behind Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams.

His absence will likely be felt on special teams as he was expected to contribute heavily on kick coverage.

"It's so unfortunate," Omell said. "Marcus' mom died during his senior year of college from an aneurysm. It was very sudden out of the blue. That was really tough on him.

"Marcus is a quiet guy who has been through a tremendous amount of adversity growing up in San Diego. The injury is a tough situation, but it doesn't amount to the other struggles he’s been through. Right now, he's just down because he worked very hard in the offseason."

With the loss of Smith and having cut Thomas White earlier this week, the Ravens are likely to seek some depth at wide receiver to fill out the roster.

Meanwhile, reserve quarterback John Beck received much more encouraging news about his injured throwing shoulder.

His MRI results revealed no torn ligaments or broken bones. At this point, the Ravens are planning to rest Beck for the next week or two to allow the shoulder muscles and ligaments to calm down.

Initially, Beck was concerned that he might have a torn labrum, a broken collarbone or an AC joint sprain. However, that's apparently not the case. Further tests may be performed.

"I don't think it's anything serious," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Thursday night.

WELCOME BACK: Wide receiver Derrick Mason got a warm greeting from the fans and Harbaugh during his first game since ending his brief retirement.

"Hey, if I forgot to mention to you, Mase, glad to have you back," Harbaugh told Mason following the second play of the game.

For Mason, it was a fun night all-around.

"It meant a whole bunch to hear it from the fans," Mason said. "It was more than a warm reception. They could have held it against me that I did retire. But I think they understand and appreciate what I do and they were happy to have me back.”

Mason reported no trouble with his dislocated middle index finger or his surgically-repaired labrum and scapula in his shoulder.

"The finger was fine, if it was a real game I would have just cut it off like Ronnie Lott," he said. "It didn't bother me at all. You hurt your finger and you wrap it up."

GETTING A LEG UP: The initial edge in the kicking competition went to Steve Hauschka.

He converted field goals from 21 and 37 yards.

Meanwhile, rookie Graham Gano missed a 28-yarder that struck the right upright as time expired after converting a 39-yarder earlier in the game. The snap was high on the final kick, throwing off the timing.

"Yeah, I should have made the kick regardless," said Gano, a Lou Groza Award winner from Florida State. "It was a short kick. If I had stayed down all the way through, it would have went in."

"I've already forgotten about that kick and I'll learn from it. It's better to have that miss now than in the future. I felt so calm. I just have to focus better and make the next one."

QUICK HITS: Tight end L.J. Smith caught a 35-yard pass during his first game in a Ravens uniform and didn't have any trouble with a nagging hamstring injury. "I didn't reaggravate it, but I still don't feel like I'm 100 percent," he said. "It felt great to catch a ball in a Ravens uniform and have the fans embrace me. I'm capable of doing a lot more. If they put me out there, I'm going to cause some problems for people." … Reacting to quarterback Michael Vick signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, running back Willis McGahee said: "I'm happy for him. He's got a lot of talent. You don't want to let it go to waste." ... Offensive tackle Jared Gaither sat out, but reported no setbacks to his left trapezius injury. "Just being careful with it," he said. "I could have played, but it's only the first preseason game." .. Derrick Martin intercepted a Colt Brennan pass during his first game at safety since his freshman year at Wyoming. "I was coming down to a tight end and I was able to just jump his route," Martin said. "We were in a good coverage for us." ... Rookie running back Cedric Peerman scored his first NFL touchdown on a seven-yard run in the fourth quarter. ... Backup strong safety Tom Zbikowski recorded a sack, a forced fumble and four tackles. "It feels good," he said. "It shows you what kind of depth we have on both sides of the ball, the kind of team that we have."

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