For the third straight summer, the Ravens can only guess at the training camp availability of Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed.
Coach John Harbaugh said Friday that a surgical procedure Reed had last week gives him "the best chance to get back for most of training camp."
According to sources, Dr. Marc Philippon performed the surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip last week in Vail, Colo., and found a floating fragment of bone. Philippon was the surgeon who operated on Alex Rodriguez a year ago when the New York Yankees slugger had a hip injury.
The surgery might have been a last resort for Reed, who first suffered the injury Nov. 29 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He missed four games in December and returned in Week 17 to play against the Oakland Raiders and in both of the team's playoff games.
But three months of rehabilitation since then failed to produce the desired result.
"What we tried to do with Ed was push it as long as we could from a rehab perspective," Harbaugh said. "This is kind of Ed's process more than anything. I think he understands his body better than anybody, and he's been driving this.
"But he decided to get the procedure now to give him the best chance to get back for most of training camp … and be ready to go for the season."
Reed is the only no-show at the team's mandatory three-day minicamp this weekend. He missed virtually all of training camp in 2008 with a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder, and was able to participate in camp only sporadically a year ago because of the injury.
Most of his teammates have sent Reed text messages, but even linebacker Ray Lewis has not spoken to him.
"Ed will definitely reach out when it's time for Ed to reach out," Lewis said. "Surgery is surgery, and nobody likes to have surgery. … He doesn't want to hear about any football right now. Right now it's about his health and getting back healthy enough to walk."
Lewis said he doesn't even entertain the thought that Reed might not return.
"I've never thought about not having him," Lewis said. "I think that's one thing that me and him have always kept each other accountable about. The bottom line is, no matter what we go through, when the first whistle blows, I know 20 is going to be behind me, so that's all that matters."
Tom Zbikowski played safety for the Ravens in December when Reed was out, and he played well.
Haruki Nakamura, another safety, was already sidelined with a broken leg. Nakamura is rehabbing now and expects to rejoin the team for offseason workouts sometime before training camp.
"We all sent text messages to Ed," Nakamura said. "He's a great leader and an outstanding football player. He works to be great. I'm confident he'll be back."
Reed has 53 interceptions in 131 career games, including the postseason. He is a six-time Pro Bowl selection and was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.
Rodriguez had surgery for a torn labrum in March 2009 and returned to the Yankees in May after missing 28 games.
Reed has a little more than two months before training camp opens in late July.
"We'll have to see how it progresses," Harbaugh said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.