Who's Playing Thursday? Who's Not?

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The Ravens aren't expecting offensive tackle Jared Gaither to play this Thursday when the Carolina Panthers come to Baltimore, but cornerback Chris Carr might.

In addition, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said he is definitely going to play, while cornerback Fabian Washington is less of a certainty.

Gaither has been in and out of practice with back spasms in between his shoulder blades.

He hasn't practiced since last Wednesday, which will likely keep him out of the preseason opener.

"I don't think that he'll be able to play just because he hasn't practiced enough," said Head Coach John Harbaugh. "I don't know if the injury's going to hold him out, but it will be hard for him to play with a little bit of practice."

That means Oniel Cousins will be the probable starter for the Ravens at right tackle. Cousins took most of the reps there this week, as Tony Moll sat out recovering from a concussion.

In Harbaugh's eyes, Cousins has made a strong recovery from being laid up in July with offseason surgery to remove a cyst on his esophagus.

"Oniel Cousins has made up so much ground in this last week of practice," said Harbaugh. "He looks good, so he should play quite a bit."

Meanwhile, Carr could see some live action.

He hasn't practiced since leaving Saturday's training camp session at M&T Bank Stadium clutching the back of his leg.

The Ravens have said they will be cautious with all injuries.

"Chris Carr could play," said Harbaugh. "It's a matter of whether we decide to put him out there or not."

It's more unknown whether Washington will play, as he will be a game-time decision.

Washington, who started 10 games last year before tearing knee ligaments in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, has been practicing well, looking quick and comfortable keeping up with receivers.

The Ravens have had to temper their use of the sixth-year veteran.

"He's ready to go," Harbaugh said. "It's just a matter of whether we want him to go. I think we'll take him out there in pre-game and see how much work he can get done, and we'll decide. We're not going to push him."

Should Washington be forced to watch, he won't hold any grudges. Washington is a noted competitor, but will defer to the coaching staff and trainers during the preseason.

"It's up to coach," Washington said. "I would understand [being held out]. You know how I feel about this game."

As for Ngata, who left Monday's practice after being hit in the back with a helmet, there is no question of whether he'll be on the field.

"I felt good today, so I think I'll be able to play on Thursday," said the recent Pro Bowler.

Grubbs Leaves Practice

Starting left guard Ben Grubbs left the practice field in the middle of Tuesday's morning session with an undisclosed injury.

He walked off with a Ravens' trainer and did not return.

Harbaugh did not have an exact explanation of the injury's nature, but did note that it wasn't anything to worry about.

"We'll find out," Harbaugh said. "It's not major, whether he'll play Thursday night or not, we're going to be cautious with all that kind of stuff."

Rookies' Time to Shine

Harbaugh said that he is eager to see the rookies face another team for the first time.

And, he expects them all to play well.

"I'm very excited to see them in game action for the first time, and they're excited to show what they can do," Harbaugh said. "I think they'll play well. I'd be surprised."

The Prince Returns

Rookie free agent Prince Miller returned to the practice field after witnessing the birth of his first child Sunday.

He is expected to see ample time against Carolina with the Ravens' current banged-up corner situation.

Harbaugh said Miller looks ready to play.

"Prince had a momentous moment. He went down and had his first child," said the coach. "We gave him a couple of days off to handle that. He did have fresh legs out here today. I think it helped him. He had a little bounce in his step. He'll play a lot Thursday night.

National Exposure

The Ravens had more national media visitors on Tuesday, with a strong contingent from both ESPN and Sirius Radio attending practice.

Baltimore's matchup with the Panthers will be broadcast by ESPN, so the Monday Night Football booth of Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden were on the field chatting with Harbaugh.

The group brought a tour bus to McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., and also talked with Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, Joe FlaccoMarc Bulger and Dawan Landry.

After practice, several Ravens visited with Jim Miller and Ross Tucker of Sirius, including Harbaugh, Boldin, Flacco, Todd HeapMatt Birk and Michael Oher.

Practice Twitterings

  • Terrell Suggs was very loquacious in Tuesday's session. When Ray Rice made a one-handed catch on a screen pass, Suggs shouted, "We don't care about your one-handed grab!" * Suggs and Landry notched back-to-back "sacks" in full-team drills. * Suggs, Edgar Jones and Antwan Barnes all got good speed rushes on Ravens offensive linemen during one-on-one drills. * During full-team work, Justin Harper got loud cheers when he hauled in a bomb from Bulger, beating Cary Williams. * Shayne Graham sailed one field goal attempt very wide left, prompting one teammate – assumed to be Suggs – to yell, "Shayne, that's disgusting!"
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