OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (2-1) took the field at 1 Winning Drive Friday morning, just two days away from an AFC North showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) at Heinz Field.
Four Ravens missed practice Friday. WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) and LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) had already been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game. OT Jared Gaither (back) joined them after missing a second straight day. He had returned to practice Wednesday, but wasn’t able to work the rest of the week and won’t play Sunday.
Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed to the media that Gaither’s injury has “been a mystery” to the Ravens, and that they are sending him to see Los Angeles-based specialist Dr. Watkins Monday for re-evaluation. “Our doctors have looked at it, and they don’t see it in there right now” said Harbaugh. “We’ve got to find out from the best experts what exactly is causing that problem.”
DL Cory Redding (concussion) missed practice Friday after “working” on Thursday; he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Redding told reporters he had not been cleared to return to football after suffering a concussion in last Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns.
Redding described himself as a “gameday decision”, adding “if it’s right, then I’ll be on the field Sunday. If it’s not, then I’ve got to be smart and take it easy.” He also said that while he was listed as a limited participant in practice Thursday, he was really just “observing” and had not practiced yet since the concussion.
RB Ray Rice (knee) participated in practice for a second straight day, he now appears likely to start Sunday despite being listed as questionable. Harbaugh said of Rice “I’m feeling pretty good…there’s a good chance he’ll play” Sunday.
LB Edgar Jones (thigh) returned to practice after missing Thursday. CB Chris Carr (thigh), LB Jarret Johnson (back) and OT Tony Moll (hip) were all on the field; they were all limited in practice Thursday. Moll and Jones are questionable to play Sunday; Carr and Johnson join C Matt Birk (back), OL Chris Chester (back), and TE Todd Heap (shoulder) as probable.
The Steelers’ Injury Report is significantly lighter. QB Dennis Dixon (knee), G Trai Essex (ankle) and DT Chris Hoke are all out for Sunday’s game; none practiced at all this week.
HARBAUGH OKAY WITH HOUSHMANDZADEH COMMENTS: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh suggested disappointment in his offensive role during an interview with MASN Thursday, but Harbaugh is not concerned about the comments.
“I think he wants to play, he wants reps, he wants the ball” said the coach. “He’s a competitive guy. He’s out here in practice taking all of the look team reps that we’ll let him take. We’ve got to pull him out. He just loves to play, and those are the kind of guys you want on your team.”
Harbaugh went on to say “we don’t worry about that stuff. That stuff is just talk and chatter and guys wanting to be part of things. When they step between the lines, we watch that. It’s how hard guys play and how committed they are to doing all the little things. I think all of our receivers are doing that.”
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Redding, DE Paul Kruger and DT Terrence Cody NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Harbaugh said he wasn’t disappointed in the decision of former DE Trevor Pryce to sign with the New York Jets, noting he made “a business decision. Harbaugh described Pryce as “a guy I like so much” and said Pryce “was a big part of what we’re doing here.”……Ed Hochuli’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game……Both Kruger and Cody appeared to be working with the first team kick return unit during the portion of practice open to media Thursday. Neither has been active yet this season, but Kruger said “I expect to play Sunday.”……According to Weather.com/The Weather Channel; the high in Pittsburgh Sunday will be 54 degrees, there are scattered showers in the forecast. Harbaugh said the Ravens are prepared for the rain; “we’re built for all conditions.”