McPhee returns to practice; Ngata moving closer to return

August 01, 2012 | Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are still waiting for All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to appear on the practice field, but they regained a key member of the defensive line with the return of Pernell McPhee on Wednesday.

The defensive end had been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in the spring and began training camp on the active physically unable to perform list. After collecting six sacks in his rookie season, McPhee is expected to compete with third-year defensive lineman Arthur Jones for the starting defensive end job open after the free-agent departure of Cory Redding.

McPhee was limited in team work, but he took part in positional drills with the rest of the defensive line.

“We’re very excited to see him back,” coach John Harbaugh. “He is an important part of our defense, and we need him in there. But he needs a lot of work, too.”

In addition to Ngata, left tackle Bryant McKinnie (back), linebackers Courtney Upshaw (shoulder) and Josh Bynes (undisclosed), offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf), running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring), and wide receiver Tandon Doss (hamstring) were again absent from Wednesday’s practice. Matt Birk was missing from practice for the third straight day as Harbaugh revealed Tuesday we can expect to see plenty of days off for the 36-year-old center.

Ngata is moving closer to a return after he injured his hamstring while trying to take the conditioning test upon reporting to training camp last Wednesday.

“Haloti’s coming along; Haloti thinks he’s pretty close,” Harbaugh said. “We’re probably working him a little slower than he’d like us to. But he’s starting to run now, and I think he’s going to be fine very soon. I don’t really have a timetable.”

New additions to the list of absentees included wide receiver Patrick Williams and offensive lineman Cord Howard.

Defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu returned to practice after sitting out Tuesday’s workout. Wide receiver LaQuan Wiliams was also present and working after leaving during the latter portion of Tuesday’s practice.

Tight end Dennis Pitta is expected to miss the remainder of the preseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hand, and Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon) and David Reed (knee) continue to rehab their respective injuries during training camp.

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