Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Gaither MIA

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OWINGS MILLS – The diagnosis is in on Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither, and he doesn’t appear to have a serious injury.

However, Gaither remains sidelined with bruising on the bottom of his foot.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated that the 6-foot-9, 340-pound lineman will return soon, but didn’t specify when.

Gaither has had a magnetic resonance imaging exam and visited foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, a Charlotte, N.C., doctor who once treated former Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden for turf toe.

"Nothing major," Harbaugh said of Gaither, who was recently replaced by Michael Oher at left tackle and moved to the right side. "They’re worked on some orthotics. He wasn’t comfortable with them, so he’s going to get a cortisone shot, which basically speeds up the healing process. Let it settle down for a couple of more days, and then he should be back here quickly."

With Gaither out, the Ravens shifted Marshal Yanda from right guard to right tackle with the first-team offense.

Chris Chester was elevated from backup to starting at right guard in Yanda’s place. The Ravens also worked Oniel Cousins in at right tackle.

"I’ll play wherever they want me to play," Yanda said. "It’s all about whatever is best for the team.

T. SMITH GETS HIS TONSILS REMOVED: Backup quarterback Troy Smith is out for the next few weeks after having his tonsils removed in his hometown of Cleveland recently.

The Ravens had Joe Flacco and John Beck take all of the snaps in his absence.

"Troy Smith got his tonsils out," Harbaugh said. "I think it’s about a two-week process. He’s eating a bowl of ice cream as we speak, I would guess. Obviously, he had some issues before.

"I’m not sure if it’s related exactly, but probably it is. He’s had some strep throat issues and stuff."

At this point, the Ravens have yet to bring in another arm to fill the void at practice.

Two seasons ago, Smith had a tonsil infection during the preseason that cost him a chance to win the starting job as the Ravens installed Flacco as the starter.

Flacco has started every game since being drafted in the first round out of the University of Delaware.

WEBB AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: Cornerback Lardarius Webb is "significantly" ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered late last season, according to Harbaugh.

Webb looked fairly fluid working on the side at practice with head trainer Bill Tessendorf. He was able to backpedal and cut.

Webb tore the ligament Dec. 20 against the Chicago Bears, ending his season on injured reserve.

"He looks like he’s moving around well," Harbaugh said. "Lardarius has been here every single day, holidays, weekends. He’s been really doing beyond what you would expect him to do. He’s doing really well."

Harbaugh added that cornerback Fabian Washington, who also tore his ACL last season, is ahead of schedule.

McKINNEY RECOVERING FROM BACK SURGERY: Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney disclosed that he had back surgery in February with a herniated disc removed from his lower back.

McKinney has resumed jogging and expects to return by training camp.

"I’m doing pretty good," he said. "It feels a lot better. They said I’ve got a pretty good chance to be back by camp."

QUICK HITS: Defensive end Paul Kruger was excused from the voluntary practice, but his agent said he’ll return to practice today. "Paul’s fine," agent David Canter said. "No problems." … Several veterans didn’t attend practice, including middle linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Derrick Mason, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive end Trevor Pryce and running back Willis McGahee. "The team is the guys who are here today, that’s all we can work with," Harbaugh said. "Those are the guys getting better, and I’d want to have every single guy here every single day if we could because that would max out our ability to get better as a football team. We got better."… Defensive tackle Lamar Divens returned to practice after undergoing a pair of hip flexor surgeries with the last one performed in January. … Not practicing because of injuries: defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (pectoral surgery), McKinney and nose guards Kelly Gregg (shoulder surgery) and Terrence Cody (undisclosed), cornerbacks Webb and Washington, safeties Ed Reed (hip surgery) and Haruki Nakamura (ankle surgery), offensive tackles Gaither and Ramon Harewood (sprained knee), wide receiver Mark Clayton (shoulder surgery) and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps surgery). Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (shoulder surgery) was limited to individual drills. Running back Matthew Lawrence (knee) and wide receiver Marcus Smith (knee) were running on the side and didn’t participate in drills. … Defensive back K.J. Gerard injured his groin and wide receiver Marcus Price hurt his left ankle during practice. … Former Ravens Pro Bowl defensive end Michael McCrary is attending practices on an informal basis. "Mike’s thinking about coaching right now," Harbaugh said. "He’s been kind of learning. He’s not working with our guys, but I think he just wants to get a feel for the profession. He’s a Raven. He knows we want him around and get him a chance to do that. It’s good to have Mike around a little bit. He’s been here on a semi-regular basis." … Flacco is noticeably lighter than last season. He’s listed at 235 pounds. "I’m about the same weight, I think a little leaner," he said. "I think these guys might want me a little bit above 240. The bottom line is I’m going to play somewhere around high 230s, 240."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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