The Ravens had a bit of good news during Thursday's practice when starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan returned after missing the last two weeks with a knee injury.
Jernigan was a limited participant in practice, giving hope to the idea that he'll be ready to play in the season opener Sunday in Denver.
"I think it's going to be a real close call," Jernigan told reporters when asked if he expects to play. "I've got a good feeling about it. It feels pretty good just the little bit of reps I did at practice, but the biggest thing is just seeing how long I can go for and making sure that thing doesn't give out after a while."
Jernigan went down Aug. 29 in the preseason game against Washington, and had not practiced since then. The Ravens said at the time that the injury wasn't "overly serious," but his absence during the first two practices this week put his status for Sunday in question.
"Of course it's kind of aggravating not being able to be out there, and miss game reps, but it felt good to be back out there today and being able to get around and move around a little bit," Jernigan said.
Jernigan is a critical piece in the middle of Baltimore's defense, as he's largely tasked with helping replace perennial Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. He showed tremendous potential in training camp in working with the first-team defense, but injuries have stalled his production.
"That's part of the game though. That's not saying I'm a horrible player because I got hurt or anything; that just means I got hurt," Jernigan said. "That's something I can't control."
If Jernigan is unable to play, then the Ravens would likely give rookie Carl Davis the start. Davis, a third-round pick, was the Ravens' most impressive rookie this summer and looks ready to play an important role during the regular season.
Kapron Lewis-Moore and Christo Bilukidi are also candidates to be in the defensive line rotation if Jernigan can't play. Lewis-Moore is currently listed as Jernigan's top backup on the depth chart.