OWINGS MILLS – Ricky Williams has done this before, and he knows the drill.
The Baltimore Ravens’ backup running back has been involved in two Thursday football games during the previous two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
And Williams says he’s not bothered by the quick turnaround heading into Thursday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers following a Sunday game with two grueling contests packed within scant days of each other.
“It seems like people want to complain about it, but the way I look at it, it’s worth it, especially on Thanksgiving,” Williams said Monday night following the Ravens’ first practice of the week. “On the flip side, you get three days off after that. That’s almost like a bye. If you’re hurt and you get banged-up in the game, it’s going to be more challenging. I’ve never looked at it as being difficult. It’s all in the attitude.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he hit a fast food restaurant drive-thru before going right back to his office after a 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals to resume preparations for the 49ers, who are coached by his younger brother, Jim Harbaugh.
“It is a challenge,” Harbaugh said. “It’d be hard to do this every week. I’m sure it would be impossible, actually, but I think we can do it in a week. Teams do it. Every now and then, they give you a Thursday game and they give you a short week, and I think it’s kind of exciting.
“It’s a little bit different. It’s more condensed, and you have to go to work both as far as taking care of yourself physically and the mental part of it. And you pack a lot more information into a lot fewer days.”
To a man, the Ravens emphasized that maintaining a positive attitude is critical during these short weeks.
“Yeah, it’s very true,” outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “You’re going to be tired and sore. You can use it as an excuse and lay down, or you can go out and play hard and take advantage of it.”
It’s a more arduous undertaking for the 49ers since they have to travel from the West Coast after their win over the Arizona Cardinals.
“There’s no doubt we got the short end of the straw on this one,” Jim Harbaugh said. “This is the first time an NFL team has traveled three time zones to play a Thursday night game after a Sunday game since the league went to a 16-game schedule.”
John Harbaugh refused to concede that the 49ers (9-1) are at a disadvantage considering they’ve already won road games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins.
“They have made this trip four times and they have won four times,” he said. “So, I would say advantage, 49ers, in that case.”
The Ravens treated Monday like their usual Wednesday practice, installing plays and getting acclimated to the 49ers’ personnel and schemes.
“We’re on to San Fran,” running back Ray Rice said after the Ravens’ win over the Bengals. “It’s so fast that you’re on to San Fran right now. I’m sure it’s going to be a different week for us. We’ll take care of our bodies.”
Harbaugh indicated that practice went well Monday night.
“It was more mental than anything else, but the guys are back at it,” Harbaugh said. “Obviously, we’re 24 hours removed from our game. And I was very impressed with the attention to detail, the enthusiasm for the challenge ahead. Guys had already been into their iPads, they’d already been studying the upcoming opponent and did a real good job.”
RAY LEWIS UPDATE: All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis practiced Monday on a limited basis, according to the official injury report.
He wasn’t present during the portion open to reporters.
Lewis was sidelined against the Bengals with a toe injury suffered against the Seattle Seahawks.
Lewis’ consecutive game streak of 57 games was snapped.
The Ravens haven’t ruled him out for Thursday and have no plans to place him on injured reserve.
Lewis declined an interview request from 24×7.
When asked if he’s feeling better, Lewis replied: “Of course. I feel better every day.”
Harbaugh declined to give an update on Lewis’ status.
“My thoughts about it? I think about it a lot,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve got lots of thoughts about it. Is that something I really want to share right now, you think? Would there be any value in me doing that?”
INJURY UPDATES: Cornerback Chris Carr (back) and defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) didn’t practice.
Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) and safety Haruki Nakamura (thigh) were limited.
Offensive guard Marshal Yanda didn’t practice during the portion open to reporters, but isn’t on the injury report.
He wasn’t reported to have an injury Sunday.
Wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) is no longer listed on the injury report.
Strong safety Tom Zbikowski (right knee) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf, quadriceps) aren’t on the injury report and practiced.
Rookie running back Anthony Allen (hamstring) participated fully.
QUICK HITS: Harbaugh was noncommittal on whether Zbikowski will continue to be the primary kickoff returner of if the team will go back to David Reed, who was replaced after fumbling twice against the Seahawks. Zbikowski had a 26-yard return against the Bengals before being crushed by safety Taylor Mays, holding onto the ball. “We like north-south guys, always have,” Harbaugh said. “We like guys that can run past people and break tackles and all that. Zibby did a nice job, and we’ll just have to see how it goes from here on out.” … Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti counseled Harbaugh not to lobby his father, Jack Harbaugh, to attend the game. “I had a talk with Mr. Bisciotti about that,” Harbaugh said. “His advice was just let mom and dad decide what they want to do, what they need to do, because I was recruiting him. I think it’s good advice. I really respect where he’s coming from. We’ve got a great dad, a great mom. I appreciate them very much.”