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Run-stopper hopes he’s a go

Warren set to chip in against Ravens

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / January 6, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH - Ty Warren left the Patriots locker room yesterday afternoon walking with a slight limp. The right ankle injury that has bothered him for several weeks will not heal until the season is finished.

Still, Warren plans to return to the lineup for Sunday’s playoff game against the Ravens. He has played sparingly in the last three weeks, missing two games entirely. But with his team in the postseason, Warren is prepared to take his place on the defensive line.

“I know I’m close,’’ he said. “I’m ready to go this week unless something happens. I’m looking to contribute and I’m ready to work.’’

The expected return of Warren, a run-stopper at end, and nose tackle Vince Wilfork comes at the right time for the Patriots. Baltimore rushed for 2,200 yards, fifth in the NFL, and scored 22 touchdowns on the ground.

Ray Rice rushed for 1,339 yards and led the Ravens with 78 catches coming out of the backfield. The team’s second back, Willis McGahee, scored 14 touchdowns.

“They give you a lot to get ready for,’’ coach Bill Belichick said.

How well Warren and the rest of the line contains Rice could determine whether the Patriots continue their season. At 5 feet 8 inches, Rice can be hard to find.

“He’s definitely a threat,’’ Warren said. “He and McGahee, they like to use those guys a lot. It’s definitely a strength of their team.’’

The Patriots beat the Ravens, 27-21, at Gillette Stadium Oct. 4 despite Rice rushing for 103 yards on only 11 carries.

“You’ve got to look at how those yards came,’’ Warren said. “I don’t think those yards really came when the main run package was in the game. I think a lot of that came against subs. Not taking anything away from him, I’m just telling you how it went down.

“Hopefully he won’t have that much this game.’’

That game ended with the Ravens getting stopped on downs at the Patriot 14 with less than a minute to play. Warren expects more of the same in the rematch.

“They definitely played us tough at home the last time,’’ he said. “With a lot on the line, I’m sure they’ll do the same this time.’’

The Ravens have played 12 games since that loss, and some aspects of their offense have changed. Warren cautioned against reading too much into the first meeting.

“You can learn more from 15 games,’’ he said. “There’s a lot more to be learned from those 15 games than our one game.’’

Warren tangled with Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher during the October game and later remarked that the rookie had too much to say on the field.

“It wasn’t genuine. Some people say stuff they mean and other times people say stuff for a crowd,’’ Warren said at the time. “It wasn’t all directed towards me. It was real fraudulent. I just don’t respect stuff like that. But I can see him being a good player in this league.’’

Oher had a similar run-in with Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. Warren laughed when asked whether the words uttered in October would serve as motivation Sunday.

“I’m past that,’’ he said. “It has been addressed.’’

Warren can’t be too angry. He still plans to watch “The Blind Side,’’ the hit movie about Oher’s life.

“I heard it’s good,’’ he said.

But Warren hopes to hold off on the popcorn and overpriced soda for a few more weeks. The seven-year veteran has played in 14 postseason games. Only three teammates - Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk and Matt Light - have more playoff experience. This is a time of the year he relishes.

“Bill addressed the team to start this whole week off and how important this whole week is. I know what this thing is going to be about,’’ Warren said. “There’s not much more to be said unless somebody has a question. Everybody knows it’s a different season, a season of minimum mistakes because there’s a lot on the line.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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