Amid the hooded sweat shirts, faded jeans and assorted jewelry, there was another prominent accessory in the Ravens' locker room this week.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb, safety Haruki Nakamura and running back Matt Lawrence - each of whom landed on the injured-reserve list - sported crutches as they maneuvered through the locker room.
The sight of the trio hobbling around Monday seemed to underscore the frustration of many inside and outside the organization at what might have been. Cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington, defensive tackles Brandon McKinney and Lamar Divens, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, offensive tackle Adam Terry, wide receiver Marcus Smith and rookie cornerback K.J. Gerard also were sidelined by injuries.
The concern now becomes whether those players will be available in time for next season. Coach John Harbaugh did not sound worried.
"There's not too many of those guys that won't be back for training camp," he said Tuesday. "It just depends on how they progress. We expect to get a number of those guys back for [organized team activities] and even some of them back for March 15 when we start the program. We had a number of guys on IR - not as many as last year, which was an improvement. But we've done a good job of working through injuries and plugging the next guy in there and still being very competitive as a football team."
Though the list of injured players was shorter than last year's, when the Ravens led the AFC North with 16 players on injured reserve, the absences took a toll on team depth.
The secondary was hit especially hard. Rolle, who signed a four-year deal in the offseason, was to have been the nickel back, but recovery from surgery to fix a bulging disc in his neck was slow and kept him on the physically-unable-to-perform list all season.
Washington, who started opposite Domonique Foxworth, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Nov. 22, and Webb's promising rookie season was ended four weeks later by a torn ACL in his right knee.
Webb, who might not be ready until after the start of next season, said he plans to spend the entire offseason in Baltimore with trainer Bill Tessendorf.
"I'm here," he said. "I don't get a break. I'm here the whole time, working with Bill T., trying to get back as quick as possible."
Nakamura was a special-teams contributor and might have started when free safety Ed Reed missed four straight games with a strained groin, but a fractured right fibula and dislocated right ankle Nov. 16 put him on IR.
Nakamura, who has lost 20 pounds, said he plans to return as early as May.
"Minicamp is a goal," he said. "I think I'll be able to participate in it. I don't know if it's going to be 100 percent, but I'll definitely be 100 percent by training camp. That's not going to be the problem. It's just as far as how quick I can get back. Just taking it slowly."
Prescott Burgess, Jameel McClain and Tom Zbikowski excelled on special teams, but the unit clearly missed Ayanbadejo, who made the Pro Bowl last season.
Ayanbadejo, who underwent surgery to repair a tendon in his left quadriceps, said his doctor has told him that the injury suffered Oct. 4 could keep him out until training camp. But he is aiming for OTAs.
"It's almost all the way healed in there," Ayanbadejo said. "So, I'm just trying to get the quad muscle back. Hopefully, I'll start running soon and jogging and be able to change direction. Right now, I've still got a little bit of healing to go, but I'm looking forward to the next phase."
Smith, a wide receiver who tore the ACL in his right knee in the team's preseason opener, has flown under the radar. Considering the uncertainty at that position with Derrick Mason considering retirement and Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams possibly testing the free-agent market, Smith - who played in five games in 2008 - might be the Ravens' most experienced receiver.
Smith said he hopes to take part in OTAs, "at least doing something - running some of the drills, running routes, catching balls, but maybe not doing one-on-ones or things like that."
"I want to be ready by camp," Smith said. "That's the No. 1 goal, not to push it and try to come back early. Just be ready by camp."
The best-case scenario for the Ravens is that most of the players who landed on injured reserve this season will be available - even on a limited basis - for training camp. Their presence, along with that of battle-tested reserves who filled the gaps when other players were out, could help the team in the long run, Harbaugh said.
"That's very exciting, too, when you look at your roster and all of a sudden you take those guys and plug them back into the depth chart and you see the competition you're going to have for training camp," he said. "So, that's a good place to start."