-- Tackle Jonathan Ogden made a brief appearance in the Baltimore Ravens' locker room Monday afternoon, one day after injuring his left hamstring in Baltimore's 20-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The seven-time Pro Bowler didn't say much; he just grabbed a paperback from his locker and limped off to get treatment.
The Ravens won't officially announce Ogden's status for Sunday's game at Philadelphia until Wednesday, but they seem prepared to face the undefeated Eagles without him.
It's another blow for a struggling offense that has been missing key pieces throughout the season. Baltimore could take the field against Philadelphia without three offensive Pro Bowl players: Ogden, running back Jamal Lewis and tight end Todd Heap.
"For us to be without three Pro Bowlers, no one can accuse us of not being damn sporting, but that's our challenge right now," Baltimore Coach Brian Billick said during his weekly news conference. "That's the biggest challenge for this team right now. We are not configured right now the way we had hoped we could be, at this point in the season, but that's life in the NFL."
Lewis, who leads the Ravens (4-2) with 494 rushing yards and four touchdowns, will miss Sunday's game; he is serving the second half of a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Heap, who is second on the team with 12 catches for 113 yards, hasn't played since Week 2, when he sprained his ankle against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I'm at the point right now where I'll just wait and see when Todd shows up," Billick said. "We've MRI'd and X-rayed -- he glows when he walks into the training room now. Structurally, it's sound to the point where we know it's not more than what it is -- it's a bad ankle sprain. He's training night and day. Hopefully, he'll be able to help us."
Ogden, who underwent an MRI exam on Monday, was injured on a running play late in the fourth quarter against the Bills, and was helped off the field. He told reporters after the game that it felt as if he was kicked in the back of the leg, even though he was not touched on the play.
This is the second injury of the season for the usually durable Ogden. He sprained his knee in the final preseason game and watched from the sidelines as the Ravens fell to Cleveland, 20-3, in the season opener.
Ethan Brooks, a seven-year veteran from Williams College, replaced Ogden in the starting lineup against the Browns and likely will do so again if Ogden is unable to play against the Eagles.
"It's just, take your hits, keep on going. That's the nature of the business," Brooks said. "You've just got to be prepared for whatever circumstances come up. I think we've dealt with it great so far, and we'll continue to do so. It'll only make us stronger in the end."
"That's one guarantee in the NFL -- someone will get hurt," guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "Anytime you lose a Pro Bowl player like that, there's going to be a hole and you'll feel it. But guys will step up."
The offensive line will get some help with the return of center Mike Flynn, who has not played since breaking his collarbone during training camp. Flynn, who has started 70 games at center and guard since the 2000 season, returned to practice last week.
Billick said that Casey Rabach, who has been starting in Flynn's place, will remain at center for now; Rabach "has played brilliantly the entire season," Billick said. Flynn will fill in at both center and guard.
The Ravens' offensive line has grown used to shuffling players in and out this season. The line went through that on Sunday against the Bills, as all three of its tackles were injured.
Right tackle Orlando Brown left the game in the first half after breaking his index finger when he got his hand caught between two helmets. Brooks filled in for Brown for much of the second half, and wound up breaking his left thumb. When Ogden went down with the hamstring injury, Brooks moved over to left tackle and Brown returned to the game at right tackle. It was an odd day, Brooks said.
"Someone around here is jinxed," Brooks said. "We just haven't figured out who."