After missing a large chunk of the 2008 campaign due to a major knee injury, Marshal Yanda is eager to get back on the football field.
It seems that won't happen at least until September.
Yanda, who had surgery to repair the medial and posterior collateral ligaments in his right knee last October and then repaired his anterior cruciate ligament earlier this year, is all but ruling out training camp this year as he continues his rehabilitation.
"I'm on schedule, which is about six to eight months from January, which is when I had my surgery," Yanda said Thursday. "Hopefully, I can get on the early part of that, which would be around September. Right now, everything feels good. Most likely, I'll miss all of training camp."
Yanda has been participating in the warm-up portions of practice this offseason, working with the Ravens' medical staff on a side field once full-team drills begin.
The right guard is mainly focused on rebuilding a knee that hasn't seen much physical activity since he originally hurt it in Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts.
"It's really just getting those stabilizers and muscles strengthened again, one of those things that you really can't push it," he explained. "You don't want it to flare up in December, or even a year down the road. I want to make sure it's 100 percent before I start to do anything."
Yanda's absence means Chris Chester will occupy the starting spot at right guard until Yanda can come back and compete for his former job again.
That could also mean that Yanda merits a place on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list before the start of training camp. Players that make the PUP list must remain inactive through the season's first six weeks, after which there is a three-week period to determine whether the player can return to the 53-man active roster or move to Injured Reserve.
For a player that claims he has never missed a game or been seriously injured, waiting that long can be frustrating.
"I've never been injured or missed a football game," Yanda said. "The only few I didn't play in were in my rookie year. I was on special teams for four and then started 12 and a playoff game. Then I got hurt.
"You just have to keep your head up and work hard. Everything should be fine if you follow the schedule and commit to rehab."
Yanda's versatility is critical to Baltimore's offensive line. As a rookie in 2007, he started 12 contests at right tackle, switching to right guard his sophomore campaign.
With Adam Terry (knee) and Oniel Cousins (chest) recently limited in practice because of injuries, the Ravens are thin at backup tackle, an area where Yanda could potentially assist. At this point, Jared Gaither and rookie Michael Oher are slated to start at left and right tackle, respectively.
"They haven't said anything to me yet, but I'm sure it's a possibility I could be an emergency fill in," Yanda said. "This year, Michael will be fine, and Oniel is getting better. He and Adam will be OK. Right now, it's just practice, and I can't do much of that right now. So, we'll see where I am and how much I can do when I can get back on the field. "