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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens saw a key member of their starting offensive line return to the practice field Monday as left guard Kelechi Osemele practiced for the first time since late last week.
The second-year lineman strained his right hamstring in the first full-squad workout of the summer on Thursday and was sidelined through the weekend. Only right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) remains out of action among the projected five starters along the line, but the two-time Pro Bowl selection passed his physical over the weekend, a sure sign that he is moving closer to returning to practice after offseason shoulder surgery.
Osemele took part in a very limited capacity, only working during positional drills before sitting out the team portions of practice.
“It’s still early. We just want to make sure we have everybody healthy,” Osemele said after practice. “We don’t want to lose any of our starters right now. Today went well, it felt great. It was good to be out there with the guys again and get all the mental things going on.”
Others missing from Monday’s workout in Owings Mills included offensive linemen Ramon Harewood (knee) and Ryan Jensen (leg), wide receivers Tommy Streeter (heat-related), Marlon Brown (knee), and LaQuan Williams (arm), and linebacker Spencer Adkins (undisclosed).
According to The Sun, the sixth-round linemen Jensen suffered a broken foot and will undergo surgery to repair the damage. This development will presumably land the Colorado State-Pueblo product on season-ending injured reserve, which would be a convenient way for the Ravens to keep Jensen in the organization.
Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) was absent and remains on the physically unable to perform list along with Yanda while rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) was present but not working while remaining on the non-football injury list.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tweaked his knee during an 11-on-11 session at the end of practice, but coach John Harbaugh confirmed that it wasn’t a concern after the Pro Bowl lineman was seen flexing his left knee on the sideline. Ngata walked to the sideline gingerly after appearing to be rolled up by another player in the offensive backfield.
Tight end Dennis Pitta, of course, has been ruled out for the season after suffering a dislocated hip.
Inside linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (foot) were both practicing despite being nicked up in Sunday’s workout.
Pitta MRI yields positive results
As the Ravens accept the reality of Pitta being lost for the season, an MRI on the tight end’s surgically-repaired dislocated hip revealed good news for his long-term prognosis in making it back to the field.
Harbaugh reiterated that nothing has changed in terms of Pitta being sidelined for the entire 2013 season, but he could begin the rehab process in six to eight weeks.
“Basically, the ball was pushed out of the socket and pushed backwards,” Harbaugh said. “It’s an injury that happens a lot of times in car accidents. He got his knee caught up under him in an awkward way when he fell. I think there are only eight documented cases of this injury in football that I’ve read about.”
With the memory of former Los Angeles Raiders running back Bo Jackson suffering a similar injury and developing avascular necrosis, which is the premature cellular death of bone components due to the interruption of blood supply. It resulted in Jackson needing to have his hip replaced, which ended his NFL career prematurely.
The vigilant decision to get Pitta to surgery and the details offered by Harbaugh provide a positive outlook that Pitta will be able to continue his career next season after an extensive rehab process in the coming months.
“The good news is that there’s a fracture, but it’s in the back part of the bone,” Harbaugh said. “It’s in the big part of the bone, and it’s a very tight fracture. So, it didn’t move at all. There’s no ligament damage, no cartilage damage. It’s a clean break if you want to use that term.”
The starting defense continued the early-camp trend of dominating over the offense as quarterback Joe Flacco once again played behind a makeshift offensive line missing Yanda and Osemele. Jah Reid and Antoine McClain served as the first-team guards with Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley splitting time at the center position with the first unit.
Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil put pressure on the Baltimore signal-caller several times as the offensive line struggled to hold up at the point of attack and receivers struggled to consistently gain separation.
One of the highlight plays of the afternoon came from rookie safety Matt Elam, who nearly intercepted a Flacco pass intended for Tandon Doss in the end zone while showing good athleticism to make a leaping deflection.
Tight end Ed Dickson made a sparkling 25-yard catch down the middle of the field for one of the lone offensive highlights of 11-on-11 drills.
Defensive players were rewarded with ice cream after winning Monday’s battle as two ice cream trucks drove onto the field in the closing minutes of the afternoon practice. Nose tackle Terrence Cody offered the memorable quote of the day to Osemele, using his best Forrest Gump voice while saying, “K.O., ice cream!”
The Ravens are off on Tuesday before returning to the field for a full-squad workout on Wednesday afternoon.