Oniel Cousins said symptoms stemming from the concussion he sustained two weeks ago are subsiding, but the offensive tackle still isn't sure whether he will be available for the team's preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.
"I don't know," Cousins said after Monday morning's practice. "I've just got to play it out and see how it feels. Like I said, I'm getting better every day."
Cousins was at practice, dressed in his jersey, helmet and shorts. But he was limited to a few individual drills.
Still, his appearance was promising considering he was wearing sunglasses and earplugs last week.
"I'm feeling better," Cousins said. "I went out there a little bit today and just moved around to see how I feel. I didn't feel too bad. I've still got a little headache, but overall, I'm feeling better."
Without Cousins and Jared Gaither (thoracic disk in back), Tony Moll has made two consecutive starts at right tackle. Moll has been solid, but there is an undercurrent that would like to see what Cousins can do before the regular-season opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.
"I'm really hopeful for Oniel," coach John Harbaugh said. "That's a game that he really needs to play. He's just missed so much with [a throat procedure in] the OTAs and now again in training camp. He's got a chance to be such a good player. So we're hoping he can get out there. I think he's got a good chance."
Cousins said he has jogged on his own, worked out on a stationary bike and lifted weights, but nothing compares to taking reps in practice.
"Mentally, I'm into it 110 percent. Physically, you know, because I always do more ÃÂ but I always try to stay in it. Whatever I can do, I always do enough or even extra as far as what I can tolerate just to make sure that I'm up to par."
Washington's sore ribs
Fabian Washington missed practice with bruised ribs, but the injury won't affect him for the season opener. The cornerback wasn't expected to play in Thursday's preseason finale even if he were healthy.
"I'm expecting this thing to be something short and move past it," Washington said Monday.
Washington injured his ribs on the first play of Saturday's 24-10 win against the New York Giants, but played the rest of the first half.
"I was making tackles and running into people, and it just kept hurting," he said. "At half, I said, 'Enough is enough.'"
"We felt like we just needed to rest him," Harbaugh said.
In addition to Washington, wide receivers Donte' Stallworth (broken foot) and Mark Clayton (concussion), guards David Hale (bruised tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (left arm/shoulder), Gaither and rookie nose tackle Terrence Cody (swelling in left knee) were absent from the portion of practice open to the media.
Besides Cousins, rookie fullback Mike McLaughlin was present, but he was wearing shorts. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (knee surgery) and K.J. Gerard (hamstring) and wide receiver Eron Riley (strained back) practiced after missing Saturday's contest.
Stallworth has surgery
Stallworth didn't waste any time undergoing surgery on his broken foot.
Via his Twitter account (D_Stallworth18), the wide receiver wrote that he was scheduled for surgery Monday to insert a screw into his foot.
"Thanks for all your prayers & well wishes," he wrote. "It's helping me escape melancholy. Please keep me in your prayers, having surgery today."
Harbaugh clarified that Stallworth sustained the injury while playing offense, not during one of his three punt returns.
"He said he knew right away," Harbaugh said. "He was running a nine route, a streak route and said he made a move outside to get around the corner. Planted on his foot and just felt it pop. He wasn't sure how serious it was, but he suspected it."
Linebacker contest continues
Jameel McClain has downplayed his three consecutive starts at inside linebacker this preseason, and it appears he was onto something.
Although the competition between McClain, Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden appears to be over, Harbaugh disagreed after Monday morning's practice. Asked whether McClain's starts suggest he will start in the season opener, Harbaugh said, "No, it really doesn't because as we watch those guys, they've all played well. And, I think when we have these conversations as a staff about our linebackers, you rank the guys in different categories in all three different ways. One category, it's these three in this order, then it's these three in this order, and then it's these three in the other order. So I really think that with those three guys, when it all shakes out, we're going to say that all three of those guys are starters for us."