Ravens still on the mend

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Peter Boulware has been cleared to begin light jogging and treadmill workouts, but remains unlikely to be able to participate fully in training camp.

"Peter is progressing well and strengthening the knee," head athletic trainer Bill Tessendorf said. "All of the reports I'm getting on him are positive."

Boulware underwent knee surgery after the season to repair a sprained posterior cruciate ligament and a significant condral lesion. Along with quarterback Anthony Wright (shoulder) and tight end Trent Smith (leg), it's improbable that Boulware will be able to pass the team's initial physical upon reporting to training camp in Westminster on Thursday.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Boulware will become a candidate for the physically unable to perform list that Wright is likely to be placed on for the first six weeks of the regular season. Depending upon Boulware's rehabilitation schedule, he could be available as a situational pass rusher when the Ravens open the season Sept. 12 against the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens aren't required to make a decision on who will be on the physically unable to perform list until they make final preseason roster cuts. Being placed on the list entails missing the first six weeks of the regular season prior to three weeks of evaluation in practice before a final decision is made on whether the player will be placed on injured reserve.

Not placing an injured player on that list, though, requires holding a roster spot for them. "It's just a matter of when they can pass their physical and are back on the regular roster," Tessendorf said.

Tesendorf added that Wright recently began light weightlifting after having surgery this spring to repair a partially torn labrum and minor rotator cuff damage. Former Pittsburgh Steelers starter Kordell Stewart was signed to stand in for Wright as Kyle Boller's backup.

"The calendar is really going to dictate Anthony's stuff," Tessendorf said. "My guess is he's not going to begin throwing until October after sitting out the six games. We'll have to see how it goes."

After suffering a broken leg last August during a preseason game that required the insertion of a metal rod to aid the healing process, Smith was limited during minicamps.

"Trent had some problems during minicamp and we're anxious to get him out there and see how his leg responds," Tessendorf said. "We need to create a supervised workload to see how it does. If you put him out there and it responds negatively, it really limits your options. "We may fail him on the physical and give him a few days to run around and see how the leg does."

Starting cornerback Gary Baxter should be cleared for all drills when the team opens practice Friday morning at McDaniel College. Baxter underwent abdominal hernia surgery during the off-season.

"Gary said he feels great," Tessendorf said. "He's still going to have little bouts of pain with movement and the tearing of scar tissue, but we're very pleased with his progress."

Tessendorf said that All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis should be fully cleared for all drills after being held out of minicamps as a precautionary measure after thumb ligament surgery.

"I'm going to suggest to him that he have it taped up for my peace of mind," Tessendorf said.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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