Status Of Starters Uncertain

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Gregg, L.j. Smith Could Miss Rest Of Preseason With Injuries Suffered Vs. Jets

August 27, 2009|By Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley | Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley,edward.lee@baltsun.com

The status of a pair of Ravens starters is up in the air after defensive tackle Kelly Gregg and tight end L.J. Smith each left Monday night's 24-23 victory over the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium with injuries.

Gregg is dealing with a shoulder injury and is not expected to play Saturday against the Carolina Panthers. Although coach John Harbaugh said Gregg would have been available to play if Saturday's contest had been a regular-season game, Harbaugh conceded that the injury was alarming.

"We had a little bit of a scare with Kelly because we weren't sure exactly what it was, and it turned out to be just kind of a nagging deal," he said. "As you get older, those things get a little sore. So he's going to be OK. He's going to be fine. We're going to be smart with him through the rest of the preseason. He's probably had plenty of reps. So we'll just kind of tune him up and get him ready for the regular season."

Smith pulled his left hamstring during Monday's win and will also likely miss Saturday's contest.

"What probably happened was he had the hip flexor, the groin, the sports hernia, the upper hamstring. These things kind of compensate and tie into one another," Harbaugh said. "So he's just going to have to keep working hard. He's been working incredibly hard to try to get it right, and he's going to have to continue to do that. But like I told him today - he's down about it - 'Don't get down about it.' It's a long season, and we're going to need him to be a really good player for us, and we've got to get him ready hopefully for Atlanta [on Sept. 3], and if not Atlanta, Kansas City" on Sept. 13.

Oniel Cousins is wearing a boot to protect the right ankle he rolled in Monday's game, but the second-year offensive tackle said he intends to play against the Panthers.

"I was blocking somebody, and I just kind of went the wrong way and it got twisted," Cousins said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready by game time."

Center-guard David Hale (shoulder) is expected to play Saturday.

More on injury front

In a surprising turn of events, wide receiver Mark Clayton took part in Wednesday's practice at the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills.

Clayton, who had not practiced since straining his left hamstring Aug. 2, had been running on his own and making cuts last week during training camp. It's unclear whether Clayton will be available for Saturday's game against the Panthers.

Right guard Chris Chester was not present, and his strained right calf was heavily taped when he was in the locker room before practice.

In addition to Gregg, Smith and Cousins, others who did not participate included linebackers Terrell Suggs (strained left Achilles tendon) and Dannell Ellerbe (right knee), offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers (right foot) and wide receiver Biren Ealy (groin).

Ellerbe was not wearing a brace on his right knee.

Mason: Harbaugh is the coach

Harbaugh decided not to fire back at former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, who told the media after Monday's game that then-defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was the head coach of the Ravens last season.

Asked about Scott's remarks, Harbaugh said Wednesday, "We don't have any rear-view mirrors in our car."

It had been rumored last season that Scott didn't endear himself to Harbaugh. He affirmed that with his comments Monday.

Ryan "was the head coach of that football team [the Ravens] last year, whether you guys know it or not," Scott said. "He kept that team together. The defense leads that team over there, and he controls the defense."

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason disputed that notion.

"They give the head coaching tag to one coach, and that was Coach Harbaugh," Mason said.

"We respected Rex when he was here, and he did a tremendous job with the defense. I'm pretty sure he had some input with what was going on. But there is only one captain that can control the ship, and that was Harbaugh."

End zone

Director of player development O.J. Brigance will be honored during a fundraising event Sept. 29 - which is his 40th birthday - at M&T Bank Stadium. "Two Rings For O.J." seeks to raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which Brigance has had since 2007. For more information, visit www.bcf.org/brigance.

Without ruling out Matt Stover, Harbaugh said the competition between Steve Hauschka and rookie Graham Gano is far from over. "We're hopeful - and I think everyone that is a Ravens fan should be hopeful - that one of these two guys can do it because if one of these two guys can do it, that's one more player we get to keep," Harbaugh said.

Offensive tackle Adam Terry, who underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee this month, said he is on pace to return for next season. "It's a little different protocol from what Kelly Gregg had," said Terry, who was using crutches. "I can bend my leg, and I have pretty good range of motion. I just can't put any weight on it."

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