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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis remains a major question mark for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a bruised back that has kept him out for two consecutive games.
Lewis wasn’t present during the portion of practice open to the media Thursday and is listed as questionable on the injury report one week after undergoing a minor surgical procedure to drain a pocket of blood from his swollen back.
"Progressing," Ravens coach Brian Billick said when asked about Lewis’ status. "I think the soreness has moved out pretty good now. It’s a matter of the fact that he’s been inactive for a couple of weeks and now he has to get back to the point where we’re comfortable with him playing."
Lewis has been out since safety Ed Reed’s knee collided with his back Nov. 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Earlier this week, Lewis told reporters that his back is still troubling him and that he wasnâ€™t certain if he would play against the Steelers.
â€œItâ€™s not settling down like I wish it would,â€ Lewis said. â€œItâ€™s still bothering me.â€
Meanwhile, tight end Todd Heap was added Thursday as questionable with a foot injury with defensive tackle Dwan Edwards added as questionable with back spasms.
Offensive guard Keydrick Vincent (groin) was at practice, but wasn’t dressed out as he went through agility drills on his own at the start of practice. He’s questionable along with tight end Daniel Wilcox (hamstring). Although both players expressed optimism about playing against the Steelers, Billick was noncommittal.
"We’re working towards that," he said.
Reed (knee) and linebacker Adalius Thomas (ankle) are probable.
The Steelers reported no changes to their injury report, but rookie wide receiver Santonio Holmes missed practice with the flu. Holmes won NFL Rookie of the Week honors after catching five passes for 75 yards and his first pro touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
QUICK HITS: A few unidentified rookies fell for veteran players’ annual Thanksgiving prank where they posted notices in the locker room telling them to go to Bullock’s in Westminster to receive a free turkey. The trick is that there’s no such promotion, and several players over the years have driven out to Carroll County for naught. Rookie running back P.J. Daniels was adamant that he didn’t fall for the ruse. "I wasn’t one of the turkeys that fell for it," he said. … No afternoon meetings were held on the holiday and Billick urged the coaching staff to leave by 3:30 p.m. after conducting practice on the indoor practice field due to the rainy weather. … The Ravens (8-2) can essentially eliminate the Steelers from playoff contention with a victory. "So, it’s a desperate game for us," Steelers linebacker Joey Porter said. "It’s a must-win game. Guys know it’s a state of emergency." … Pittsburgh ranks last in the NFL in kickoff coverage and third to last in punt coverage, and return specialist B.J. Sams is coming off an AFC Special Teams Player of the Week performance. "There’s another bad combination right there with the way we’re covering and the way B.J. Sams is returning," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "That’s going to be one of the biggest challenges we have this week. He’s coming off a big game."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland