Ravens return to practice after bye week

BY foxsports • October 11, 2011

Several banged up Ravens returned to the practice field Monday as Baltimore resumed workouts following a bye week.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was among them, but he doesn't expect to his left high ankle sprain to be fully healed for Sunday's home game against Houston. He suffered the injury during the season-opener against Pittsburgh and has missed the past three games.

''Realistically, I highly doubt it,'' Smith said of his return this week. ''I've just got to get over that last little hump, agility, moving side to side and lateral and backpedaling and planting and that stuff. That's the final stage we're in right now.''

The Ravens (3-1) had expressed optimism that their first-round draft pick out of Colorado would be back by now.

''He's not there yet, that's for sure,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ''We'll just have to see throughout the course of the week. I've got my fingers crossed. This was the target week, and we'll just have to see how it goes.''

Smith participated on a limited basis on Monday.

''I got on the field and I ran for the first time,'' Smith said. ''It's not 100 percent, it's not even 80 percent there. I can't go out there and try to do something and re-injure myself.''

Several of his teammates returned to practice, but their status is also questionable.

Offensive guard Ben Grubbs practiced after being sidelined for the past three games with a painful right turf toe. He's still considered a question mark for Sunday.

''It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad,'' Grubbs said. ''I made steps toward getting back on the field. I'm hopeful, yeah, more hopeful than I have been in the past. The question now is how it's going to react. We'll see what kind of residual pain I'm having.''

Veteran wide receiver Lee Evans, sidelined the past two games with a left ankle injury, also returned to practice. He said he feels much better, but was noncommittal on whether he'll play Sunday. Evans has been bothered by the injury since the third preseason game and has caught just two passes for 45 yards this season.

''Hopefully, I'll be well enough to play,'' he said. ''I think we're on the right path.''

Evans acknowledged that it's been rough on him not playing.

''It's frustrating,'' Evans said. ''I've never been in this situation before. The goal is to play without being hampered. It feels better but tomorrow might be a different story.''

It' might be a longer wait for fellow wide receiver and kick returner David Reed (separated left shoulder).Though he is no longer in a sling, he still may be a week or two away from returning.

Reed hurt his shoulder in the second game of the season against the Tennessee Titans after being suspended for the Steelers contest for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.

''Hopefully, I'll be back this week,'' Reed said. ''That's what I'm shooting for.''

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