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WESTMINSTER — Baltimore Ravens rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes was carted off the field Wednesday afternoon with a sprained right ankle, an injury that initially appeared serious until an hour later when Barnes walked around the team hotel with only a slight limp.
Barnes indicated that he might even be able to play in Saturday’s scrimmage against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. When the fourth-round draft pick twisted his ankle, he rolled around on the ground in obvious pain before being assisted off the field by trainers.
"I’m really good, it’s just a little twisted ankle," Barnes said. "That’s about it. Most probably it will be a go for the scrimmage."
With outside linebacker Dan Cody already on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago, the Ravens can’t afford to lose Barnes. He’s expected to compete for situational pass rusher duties and fulfill a special-teams role.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder has 4.45 speed and is Florida International’s all-time sacks leader.
"I like him," Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "He’s really quick. He resembles Dwight Freeney, but we have to see how everything else goes. We don’t just pass rush on this defense. We stop the run, too.
"He’s lightning-quick. He’s got all the intangibles of a pass rusher, so he looks really good. I think the kid can be something."
INJURY UPDATE: Nose guard Kelly Gregg remains out with a deep thigh bruise. His entire right leg is wrapped up in a black compression sleeve, and he walked gingerly up the stairs to not put weight on the leg.
Tight end Quinn Sypniewski missed the morning practice with a bout of stomach flu, an ailment that rookie linebacker Prescott Burgess returned from after being out Tuesday.
"Yeah, I think it’s going around a little bit," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You have to be careful."
Also not practicing: offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden (toe) and Mike Kracalik (ankle), linebackers Mike Smith (shoulder) and Cody and fullback Justin Green (knee).
IN A HURRY: The Ravens ran their first two-minute drill of the season, producing solid results. That included a 25-yard touchdown pass from Steve McNair to Derrick Mason, who created breathing room for himself all day with sharp routes.
"We specifically do our first one on the third day, which is the toughest day," Billick said. "They’re tired, they’re sore, they’re tired of listening to me.
"Wednesday is the hump day, so you’ve really got to push through it and get that extra concentration. For the first go-around, it was pretty good."
FANCY RIDE: Cornerback Chris McAlister is tooling around camp in a customized Ford Super Cruiser, a monstrous sport utility vehicle that runs for over $200,000. McAlister drove it from California to Westminster, and only had to stop for gas twice with a cost of $325 to fill up the tank. It has a satellite television, gigantic tires, a noisy horn and a license plate that reads: King Kong.
"Hopefully, he’ll let me take it for a spin," rookie guard Ben Grubbs said. "That thing is huge."
WELCOME RELIEF: The Ravens’ veterans were allowed to leave the team hotel to spend the night with their families under Billick’s policy of only rookies being required to remain in Westminster three days after reporting to camp.
QUOTABLE: "Day III, the rigor mortis sets in," defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "We were all flopping around. We were awful. This is the rigors of camp."
QUICK HITS: Safety Gerome Sapp delivered a resounding tackle on rookie tight end Kendrick Ballantyne, sending him airborne with a loud hit as soon as he turned to catch the football. … Wide receiver Clarence Moore continues to be a specialist in the fade pattern, leaping for a touchdown pass from Kyle Boller. … Ed Reed anticipated the snap count to sack McNair on a safety blitz. … Rookie fullback Le’Ron McClain halted middle linebacker Ray Lewis in his tracks during a blocking drill. … Rookie quarterback Troy Smith improved markedly after two rough days. "He’s getting better with every snap, really understanding better," Billick said. "We’re going at a pace that’s pretty good, so I’m pleased so far with how he’s grasping it." … Billick offered this advice to players on the roster bubble: "Listen and watch the people in front of you, work hard and pray. This is a tough team to make because we’ve got some good depth and there aren’t as many spots open as last year."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.