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Baltimore at Atlanta

Vick fractures fibula in loss to Ravens, out at least six weeks

SportsLine.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- Michael Vick won't be around for the start of what was supposed to a breakout season for the Atlanta Falcons.

He fractured his right fibula Saturday night in a 13-10 exhibition loss to Baltimore, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the star quarterback will be sidelined at least six weeks.

Michael Vick is injured on this play after being tackled by Adalius Thomas.  
Michael Vick is injured on this play after being tackled by Adalius Thomas. (AP) 
"He's upset. He's a very committed guy, and he carries the leadership role of this team on his shoulders very heavily," Blank said. "He's in a lot of personal pain, not in a lot of physical pain, but personal pain and frustration."

Blank said Vick wouldn't have surgery. If he's out six weeks, he'll miss the first four games of the regular season, and would return Oct. 5 against Minnesota.

"I am terribly disappointed," Vick said in a statement. "But this is the ultimate team sport and we will have to keep playing. I have confidence that these guys and coaches can get it done."

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb had a similar injury last year and was out two months.

"It's a shame," McNabb said after the Eagles' game in Philadelphia. "I wouldn't want to see that happen to anyone. You can come back from that, though. I proved it last year. He just has to give it some time and be patient."

The Ravens (1-1) held off Atlanta despite a 67-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Falcons rookie Bryan Scott with 1:51 left. After Atlanta recovered an onside kick, third-string quarterback Kurt Kittner threw an interception, sealing the Falcons' second loss in two games.

Baltimore rookie Kyle Boller, battling Chris Redman and Anthony Wright for the starting quarterback job, threw a 1-yard TD pass to Terry Jones Jr. in the third quarter, and Matt Stover added two field goals.

The Falcons, looking for back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history, acquired wide receiver Peerless Price in the offseason to give Vick help. Now, Price will work with backup quarterback Doug Johnson.

"We've got to get to practice now and get to work with Doug, get his timing down a little," Price said. "I don't know what to say. You don't want to see anybody get hurt, especially Mike, but we've got to keep it going."

It was the first-ever matchup of Vick and Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, one of the top defensive players in the league, but Lewis never got a chance to tackle Vick before the injury.

On third-and-6 from the Atlanta 5 late in the first quarter, Vick was chased out of the pocket and was tackled by Adalius Thomas. Vick fell awkwardly on his right leg and grabbed it even before he hit the ground.

"I didn't see it live, but when they showed the replay, it looked pretty bad," Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking said. "They way he fell on his leg didn't look good."

Thomas, after briefly celebrating the tackle, went back to check on Vick and several of Vick's teammates knelt beside him. When it was apparent he was hurt, a hush came over the crowd at the Georgia Dome.

"I walked up to him and said, 'God bless you. I'll keep you in my prayers,"' Thomas said. "Obviously, he was in a lot of pain. I know he was hurt pretty bad."

After he was examined by the Falcons' medical staff, Vick got up with some help and limped a few steps to a cart. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he was driven to the locker room.

"That hurts our league and the Falcons, and I feel for him," Lewis said. "He's my friend, and he'll be back. I'll call him and give him encouragement."

Blank immediately went to Atlanta's locker room to see Vick, and he stayed until the diagnosis.

"He started crying, I started crying," Blank said. "It's like one of your children. He's a 23-year-old who's imagining the worst. It's painful."

Vick got off to a rough start against the Ravens, getting sacked on the first play and throwing an interception on the next one. He finished 0-for-4, and rushed for 8 yards.

"I think that whole half was frustrating and what happened to Mike really topped it off," Price said. "We didn't do anything right and then we lose our man."

Last season, Vick made the Pro Bowl in his first full season as a starter and set three NFL records for rushing by a quarterback.

Johnson, who becomes the starting quarter in Vick's absence, completed 6 of 11 passes for 76 yards, including a 42-yarder to MarTay Jenkins. Last year, when Vick missed a game against the New York Giants, Johnson filled in and led the Falcons to a 17-10 victory, starting an eight-game unbeaten streak.

"I don't think the coaches are looking for me to show them something different," Johnson said. "I've been in the offense longer than any of them. It brings a little bit more experience to this team."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Scoring Summary
FGMatt Stover 33 Yd, 13:11. Drive: 4 plays, 7 yards in 1:17.
FGJay Feely 53 Yd, 12:20. Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards in 2:46.
TDTerry Jones, 1 Yd pass from Kyle Boller (Matt Stover kick is good), 9:43. Drive: 9 plays, 74 yards in 5:17.
FGMatt Stover 30 Yd, 3:43. Drive: 7 plays, 83 yards in 2:54.
TDBryan Scott, 67 Yd fumble return (Jon Markham kick is good), 1:51.
K. Boller9/1813211
C. Redman4/74200
A. Wright2/33200
J. Lewis832012
D. Hunter112609
C. Taylor41807
R. Brewer51607
K. Boller21008
M. Lester1404
A. Ricard1303
T. Taylor1-30-3
A. Wright3-2202
R. Johnson4108046
T. Heap324015
T. Jones320116
T. Taylor118018
M. Wynn116016
D. Hunter1808
A. Ricard1707
J. Lewis1505
D. Johnson6/117601
K. Kittner9/177401
M. Vick0/4001
W. Dunn72306
T. Duckett71806
M. Vick2804
J. Griffith2203
M. Jenkins250042
J. Griffith325011
B. Kozlowski223015
J. Olinger21006
P. Price110010
L. Hall1909
J. Farris1707
T. Gaylor1707
T. Duckett1606
W. Dunn1303
Complete Player Stats