Ravens rookie CB Webb out for season with torn ACL in right knee

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens must continue their playoff push without rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.

Webb tore his anterior cruciate ligament during Sunday's 31-7 victory over the Chicago Bears.

"That's obviously disappointing," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "He played so well. He's made a big impact on our team, and the guys really respect him and like him. We're going to miss him."

Drafted in the third round out of Nicholls State, Webb began his NFL career as a contributor on special teams. He saw spot duty on defense before stepping into a starting role Nov. 29 against the Pittsburgh Steelers as a replacement for the injured Fabian Washington.

Webb had nine tackles and batted away three passes in that game. He finished his rookie season with 35 tackles, six passes knocked away and a 95-yard kickoff return against the Denver Broncos.

Webb likely will be replaced at cornerback by Chris Carr.

"We've been so unfortunate. It's like who's next?" Carr said. "It's been tough losing friends. These are guys we genuinely care about. I've started at every position, so I'm confident I can go out there and play well."

Harbaugh said Monday that the team likely will go outside the organization in an effort to find another defensive back as the team begins preparations for Sunday's showdown with the Steelers.

"We're looking at all the possible options," the coach said. "We want to bring in somebody that can help us this week against Pittsburgh. That's our priority."

Harbaugh didn't rule out the return of Chris McAlister, who was released by the Ravens during the offseason and briefly played with the New Orleans Saints this year.

"We're open to bringing anybody back that can play, anybody that can help us," Harbaugh said. "He would be an option, and there are other options as well."

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The Ravens (8-6) have gone three consecutive weeks without safety Ed Reed and can ill afford to have a depleted secondary against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 503 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-36 win over Green Bay Packers.

"Now that Webb is down, someone else will step up," said Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who had two interceptions against the Bears. "But anytime somebody goes down, you have a ton of concern. I'm concerned."

Soaring high with their first winning streak since September, the Ravens know that if close the regular season with wins over the Steelers and Oakland Raiders, they're in the playoffs.

"We approach the fact that we control our own destiny as a challenge," Harbaugh said. "It's well deserved. We have fought through a lot of adversity."

The last time Baltimore faced Pittsburgh on the road, the stakes were a trip to the Super Bowl. Neither team is playing as well this year -- the Steelers (7-7) had lost five in a row before beating the Packers -- but that doesn't lessen the importance of this game.

"We wouldn't have it any other way. We'd be playing this team at this time with something at stake no matter what," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, when the season started and you talked to our guys at the beginning, (you knew) this game was going to be meaningful. And here we are.

"Maybe it's not the path that we all would have anticipated, but it's the path that got us here."

The Ravens traveled an uneven course before last week, when they put a 48-3 whipping on the Detroit Lions. Coupled with Sunday's rout of the Lions, Baltimore has outscored the opposition 79-10 over the past two weeks.

What better way to approach the most important part of the season?

"Definitely, the last couple of weeks, it feels like the tide has turned in our favor," Foxworth said. "We hope we can get momentum going throughout the rest of the season and into the playoffs."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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