- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. This much is clear: Jamal Lewis is no Terrell Davis or Jamal Anderson.

Any lingering questions that Lewis could successfully come back one year after tearing his left ACL during the first week of training camp were answered last Sunday in Cleveland, when he tied a career-high with 187 rushing yards including a team-record 75-yard burst.

Davis, who retired this season, and Anderson, who is out of football, never returned to their Pro Bowl forms after respective ACL surgeries the same procedure Lewis had.

"That was just talk," Lewis said of being compared to Davis and Anderson. "You've always got to think worst-case scenario. People are going to say what they want to say and their opinions are going to be their opinions. It's up to me, and I have to play this game, I'm the one who has to go out on the field and do my job and rehab to the point where I can get back to where I am right now. That's what I did."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, another Lewis may not play in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts (3-1) at the RCA Dome. The Ravens listed five-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis as doubtful because of a partially dislocated left shoulder.

He injured his shoulder diving for a fumble during the third quarter of the Ravens' 26-21 road win over the Cleveland Browns. There is a 75 percent chance that Ray Lewis will not play against the Colts. The Ravens' durable leader has not missed a game because of injury since the 1998 season.

"I'm never prepared to play without Ray, but we have to," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "This is the next big challenge for us. It's sporting to say the least, but we're going to see how this team responds if indeed Ray can't go."

The Ravens' (2-2) offense is benefiting with a healthy Jamal Lewis. The 23-year-old is the team's leading rusher with 382 yards on 85 carries and the Ravens' top receiver with 18 catches for 118 yards.

Lewis' 187 yards was the second-highest single-game output in the league so far this season. The 217 yards gained by San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson against the New England Patriots in Week4 tops Lewis' performance.

"He was the leading rusher last week, that's scary when you get Jamal going like that," Ravens tight end Todd Heap said. "I don't think the defenses like that too much."

The Ravens are 13-0 when Lewis carries the ball more than 20 times. The 5-foot-11, 231-pound Lewis is expected to return to the form he displayed in 2000 when he rushed for a franchise-record 1,364 yards, and combined for 2,038 yards and 10 touchdowns. It appears the knee is fine.

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations, compares a healthy Jamal Lewis this season to "finding something really good under the Christmas tree."

"I did come back from a knee injury once before (a right MCL tear that ended his sophomore season at Tennessee) and I know what it takes to get back from a knee injury as far as rehabbing and being disciplined and doing the right things to recover from that," Jamal Lewis said.

A consistent ground game takes pressure off quarterback Chris Redman, who is starting for the first time in his career. Plus, it can open things vertically by setting up play-action passes. The Ravens have won their past two games by establishing the run and following with big plays through the air. In back-to-back wins over Denver and Cleveland, Jamal Lewis has rushed for 265 yards on 51 carries and Redman has tossed four touchdowns with no interceptions.

"Not too many guys are catching him on that long run," Redman said. "I don't think he is even thinking about [the knee] anymore."


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