Right guard Keydrick Vincent and tight end Daniel Wilcox returned to Ravens practice yesterday, and both players appear to be preparing to play in tomorrow night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Vincent, who has missed the past two contests after tweaking a groin muscle before the Nov. 19 win against the Atlanta Falcons, and Wilcox, who sat out Sunday's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers with a pulled right hamstring, practiced with the first-team offense during the portion open to the media.
Coach Brian Billick remained positive about both players, who are listed as questionable for tomorrow night. "Both are progressing well," he said. "I'm fairly optimistic."
While Vincent declined to comment after practice, Wilcox said the soreness in his hamstring has been dissipating.
"It's really up to the coaches and doctors, but I feel pretty good," said Wilcox, who ran extra routes after practice. "It's a little sore, but that's to be expected. I've been working it real hard, and I feel pretty good."
Defensive tackle Justin Bannan and linebacker Dan Cody are listed as out. Bannan, who dislocated the big toe on his left foot during Sunday's win, said he could miss a few weeks but does not think the injury is the type that would end his season.
Billick said no decision had been made on Cody, who had said that he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sunday.
"Haven't heard the final prognosis on Dan," Billick said, adding that the medical staff is waiting for the swelling to subside before deciding on season-ending surgery. "Obviously, he won't go this week. Don't know what the long term on Dan is just yet."
Running back Jamal Lewis (foot), tight end Todd Heap (back) and linebacker Adalius Thomas (ankle) are questionable.
Five Cincinnati starters are listed as questionable or worse. Left offensive tackle Levi Jones (knee) and right guard Bobbie Williams (appendix) are out, defensive tackle John Thornton (knee) is doubtful, and center Rich Braham (knee) and cornerback Deltha O'Neal (shoulder) are questionable.
Two more starters, defensive tackle Sam Adams (knee) and linebacker Brian Simmons (neck), are probable.
Despite the difference in records between the Ravens (9-2) and the Bengals (6-5), Cincinnati is a three-point favorite.
That tidbit of information didn't faze Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who simply smiled.
"Keep turning your head toward us, and that's when you get hit with the rabbit punch," he said. "We will rope-a-dope you all the way until we win. We love being the underdogs. We don't want anything given to us, we don't want respect given to us. We'll just take it. We love it."
M. Lewis' assessment
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis knows a little something about defense.
So when Lewis, the architect of the Ravens' Super Bowl-winning defense in 2000, was asked what stood out in the Ravens' 27-0 throttling of Pittsburgh, Lewis took a playful shot at defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.
"I think Rex was cheating and playing with 12 [players] a little bit," he quipped. "His theory is `If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.' But they just played physical and spirited in all three phases, and they got after Pittsburgh."
The Ravens were flagged for having 12 men on the field in the third quarter, which led Ryan to say, "It is funny because we actually did have 12. I was like, `Oh my God, is that embarrassing.'"