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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-16


Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-16


Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-16
Troy Smith has been cleared to resume light conditioning, but it's unknown when the Ravens quarterback will return to the field from his bout with severe tonsillitis.


The former Heisman Trophy winner has not practiced with the team since coming down with his illness on Aug. 22. He has lost 20 pounds while battling a blood clot in the back of his tonsils, which led to an infection in his lung.

"This is extraordinarily unlucky," said Dr. Andrew Tucker, the Ravens' head physician. "It a rare complication of a very severe tonsil infection."

The Ravens plan to start rookie quarterback Joe Flacco on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Todd Bouman remains the backup, and Casey Bramlet is on the practice squad as the No. 3 quarterback.

Tucker said there is no timetable on Smith's return, and team specialists will evaluate him on a week to week basis. Recent tests showed that the blood clot and infection have improved, Tucker said.

Coach John Harbaugh indicated the Ravens aren't planning to place Smith on injured reserve, which would end his season.

"We're pretty certain that he's going to be back playing for the bulk of the season," Harbaugh said.

In his second season, Smith was primed to take over the team's quarterback competition after being named the starter for the Ravens' third preseason game.

But as the Ravens were traveling to St. Louis, Smith became ill and watched the game from the team hotel. A day after the Ravens returned, he was diagnosed with tonsillitis.

Smith was progressing until the Ravens' preseason finale, when he was taken to Union Memorial Hospital after complaining of chest pain. It was found that he had a clot in a major vein in his neck, which sent an infection into his lung.

Tucker said Smith, who is taking oral antibiotics, is expected to make a full recovery.

"Troy's health was never in any danger," said Tucker, who acknowledged he has never dealt with such an illness. "But this must be regarded as a serious infection and treated with close monitoring."

As a rookie last season, Smith went 1-1 as a starter, completing 53 percent for 370 yards and two touchdowns. He impressed the veteran players with his poise and confidence.

It was difficult to judge Smith this preseason because he only attempted 18 passes. He completed half of them for 113 yards, throwing no touchdowns and one interception.

When Smith is ready to play again, it's unknown whether he will take over for Bouman as the backup quarterback or be given a chance to compete against Flacco for the starting job.

"We think he's a heck of a quarterback and he's going to make our team stronger when he comes back," Harbaugh said. "(The decision) is going to be partly medical and football strategy -- what role can he play to help us win, where Joe is at and where the offense is at. I know one thing: when he comes back, it's going to be a big plus for us. When he can compete at full strength, it's going to make a stronger team. To what extent, we'll just have to see when the time comes."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 16, 2008

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Samari Rolle Name: Samari Rolle
#22
Position: CB
Age: 31
Experience: 11 years
College: Florida State
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