OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle practiced in full gear Wednesday and expects to return to the starting lineup Sunday after a three-game absence.
Rolle was sidelined since Sept. 20 with an illness that required a brief hospital stay. He declined to discuss specifics of his condition, but said it was an ordeal.
``To wake up one morning and think you're going to work and end up in the hospital, it's scary,'' Rolle said. ``The medication put me back a whole week because I didn't feel good and it made me feel worse.''
The former Pro Bowler wasn't ready to reclaim his starting role in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, but he intends to play if his condition does not worsen.
``It really depends on how I feel. This is the first time in three weeks I've done anything, so we'll see how it goes,'' Rolle said. ``Only thing I know is I got to practice today. It's a day by day thing.''
Most 10-year veterans might groan about being at practice. Rolle treated it as a privilege.
``Just to be able to put a helmet on and not have any problems and be able to complete a practice,'' he said, ``it's very gratifying.''
Rolle signed as a free agent with Baltimore in 2005 and made 34 straight starts through the second week of this season. The last time he missed as many as three games in a year was in 2004, when a knee injury forced him out of the Tennessee Titans' final five games.
With Rolle out, the Ravens used Corey Ivy at cornerback opposite Chris McAlister. During that time, Baltimore beat Arizona, lost to Cleveland and defeated San Francisco.
``I missed three games and that's a lot,'' Rolle said. ``I feel a lot better. I'm just glad to be back.''
And the Ravens are delighted to have him. Ivy played well, but Baltimore is a better team with Rolle in the mix.
``It's huge,'' coach Brian Billick said. ``To have him back allows Corey to go back to the nickel spot, where he's so, so good. And the guys who had to step into that (nickel) role can now step back into their special teams role.''
Linebacker Ray Lewis said, ``I think it kind of calms you a little bit because we're mixing and matching so many different people.''
Unsure if Rolle will be ready to play, Ivy is preparing for either scenario.
``I'm anticipating playing both. If he comes back I'll go to my old position and do what I do. If he's not able to go then I'll try to do better than I did last week,'' Ivy said. ``There's always room for improvement.''
Tackle Adam Terry (ankle) did not practice and will probably miss Sunday's game. Center Mike Flynn (knee) is also hurt, meaning the Ravens could start three rookies on the line: guard Ben Grubbs, tackles Jared Gaither and Marshal Yanda.
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