Gaither back at practice, wants to play Thursday vs. Falcons



August 26, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,

In the second positive sign in as many weeks for the Ravens' offensive line, Jared Gaither returned to practice for the first time in nearly a month.

The heir apparent to likely Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden, Gaither worked on individual drills with the rest of the offensive line during practice yesterday. He sprained his right ankle July 26. Joining right tackle Adam Terry, who returned last Monday, Gaither said he is aiming to play in the Ravens' final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

"I'm looking to Thursday, but nobody knows," Gaither said before practice yesterday. "Only the ankle can tell."

Gaither said he has been frustrated that his ankle has been slow to respond to treatment and rest.

"It's sore. It's been hurting," he said. "Right now, it's doing better. I just want to go out there and see how it feels and get a feeling for where I am and be ready for next week."

Gaither (Maryland) was slated to join Terry, guards Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda and center Jason Brown as the team's young but promising starting offensive line.

"It'll be interesting to see how he does and how he feels after practice," coach John Harbaugh said. "If there's no setbacks, he should be ready for opening day," referring to Sept. 7 against the Bengals.

Harbaugh expressed optimism that cornerback Chris McAlister could play against the Falcons. McAlister, who has been hampered by a swollen right knee, took part in the team's walk-through and practice yesterday.

"He's working that thing back, and we'll just have to see how the knee responds," Harbaugh said before practice.

Harbaugh, however, ruled out cornerback Derrick Martin because of his right shoulder injury, saying, "He can't. He's not ready yet."

Cornerback Fabian Washington tweaked his hamstring and will be rested for a couple days.

End zone

An X-ray of Marcus Smith's separated right shoulder revealed no fractures, but the rookie wide receiver said he would have a magnetic resonance imaging later this week. "It's pretty swollen," Smith said, adding that surgery has not been discussed yet. "I've got limited movement, but I'm not going to practice much. I don't know about this week." ... In addition to Smith, Washington and Martin, quarterback Troy Smith (viral illness); defensive tackles Kelly Gregg (arthroscopic knee surgery), Dwan Edwards (undisclosed) and Kelly Talavou (dislocated right shoulder); linebacker Tavares Gooden (concussion); free safety Ed Reed; and running back Willis McGahee (arthroscopic knee surgery) did not practice yesterday.

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