The Ravens offensive line will have a new starter this weekend with Patrick Mekari taking over at center for Matt Skura after his season-ending knee injury.
However, another offensive lineman was missing from Wednesday's walkthrough. Starting left guard Bradley Bozeman (ankle) did not practice with the Ravens preparing to face the San Francisco 49ers, who have one of the NFL's top defensive lines.
The continuity and consistent play of Baltimore's offensive line has been a key factor in the offense's success. Until Skura went down, none of the starting offensive linemen had missed time due to injury.
The Ravens hope Bozeman can play Sunday next to Mekari, who will be making his first start. An undrafted rookie from Cal, Mekari played well in relief of Skura on Monday night after he left the game in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams.
In addition to Bozeman, running back defensive tackle Domata Peko (knee) and running back Mark Ingram II (non-injury reasons) did not practice Wednesday. Tight end Nick Boyle (ankle) and outside linebacker Matthew Judon (ankle) were limited participants.
Michael Pierce Returns to Practice
Defensive tackle Michael Pierce (ankle), who has missed two straight games, returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis. Pierce practiced on a limited basis for one day last week, but he missed the next two days and was not healthy enough to return to the lineup.
An excellent run defender, Pierce suffered his injury Week 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens have continued to play well defensively without Pierce, getting key contributions along the interior defensive front from Pro Bowl tackle Brandon Williams, Jihad Ward, Justin Ellis and Peko.
However, Pierce's return to the lineup would be welcomed against the 49ers, who have the NFL's second-ranked running attack behind the Ravens.
"I hate to get out in front and make a prediction because you've been wrong before, but I think there's a chance he'll be there," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
George Kittle Does Not Practice for 49ers
George Kittle, one of the NFL's top tight ends and a key to San Francisco's offense, did not practice Wednesday (ankle) after returning in Week 12 following a two-game absence.
Kittle had a huge impact in his return with six catches for 129 yards and a touchdown during a victory Sunday night over the Green Bay Packers. Trying to contain Kittle will be a priority for Baltimore's offense if he is able to play.
Starting defensive end Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) also missed practice for the 49ers on Wednesday, as did offensive tackle Joe Staley (finger). Limited participants were running back Matt Breida (ankle) and wide receivers Dante Pettis (knee), Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (ribs).
Placekicker Robbie Gould (right quad), who has been out of action since Week 10, was a full participant and appeared to be on track to return. Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (jaw) was also a full participant.