Notebook: Injured Ravens Get Back On Field


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The Ravens welcomed back some key players for Saturday's practice.

Center Matt Birk, cornerback Jimmy Smith, running back Bernard Pierce, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and defensive lineman Arthur Jones all returned to practice after missing Thursday's preseason opener.

"It's good to get those guys back," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's really important. Those guys are out here practicing and we need to have those guys."

Ellerbe was the only one of those players to return to full contact work, as Birk, Smith, Pierce and Jones only participated in individual drills. The Ravens have routinely been cautious throughout training camp with working injured players back into full contact drills when they return.

Birk has battled through back spasms during the start of camp, but his return gives the Ravens a veteran leader back in the middle of the offensive line.

For Smith (back), Jones (hip), Pierce (hamstring) and Ellerbe (unknown), getting back on the field means they will be able to get back into competition for significant playing time.

"I felt good," said Pierce, who is competing for the No. 2 running back spot. "I'm trying to climb the ladder a little bit, but not try do overdue anything."

Receivers Smith, Doss and Payne Sit Out

Wide receivers Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Logan Payne all sat out Saturday's practice, as they are dealing with minor injuries.

Smith tweaked his ankle and Payne suffered a hip contusion in Thursday's game against Atlanta. Doss, who has been battling a hamstring injury throughout training camp, did practice last week but was held out of the preseason opener.

Smith and Doss did come out midway through practice to watch from the sidelines, and neither player appeared to be walking with a limp.

The other players who sat out on Saturday were cornerbacks Chykie Brown (hamstring) and Asa Jackson (hamstring), tight ends Ed Dickson (shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (hand), wide receivers David Reed (ACL) and Patrick Williams (unknown), linebackers Darryl Blackstock (unknown), Josh Bynes (back) and Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon), defensive lineman Ryan McBean (ankle) and offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf).

McKinnie Still Working With Second Team

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie is fighting for the starting left tackle spot, but right now he looks to be behind Michael Oher in the competition. McKinnie primarily worked with the second team on Saturday after not starting Thursday night.

McKinnie has struggled with his conditioning this offseason, but since returning to action last week he has been able to make it through the Ravens' up-tempo practices and Harbaugh has been pleased his performance.

"He's practiced well," Harbaugh said. "He's been durable. He's made it through all of the practices that he's been in. He played in the game, a good number of reps. He's competing like all those guys are right now, and it's a competition on the offensive line."

Tucker Stays Sharp

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker had another good day on Saturday, going 13-13 on his field-goal attempts. His longest kick on the day was a 50 yarder.

Veteran Billy Cundiff did not kick during Saturday's practice. The Ravens occasionally give one of the kickers a day off during camp to rest their leg. Tucker has continued to play well throughout training camp, making the competition for the kicking job one of the more intriguing position battles.

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