Ravens shorthanded for scrimmage

WESTMINSTER -- The Baltimore Ravens will be shorthanded during Saturday's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins with eight players ruled out due to injuries. However, the medical prognosis isn't entirely negative.

Although rookie offensive guard Ben Grubbs will be held out of this joint workout at M&T Bank Stadium with a sprained right knee, Ravens coach Brian Billick expressed optimism Friday that the first-round draft pick could return as soon as next week. Grubbs has been performing individual drills.

"I'm feeling much better," said Grubbs, who sprained his medial collateral ligament and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam that didn't reveal any serious damage. "I wish I could play this weekend, but it's best to be careful with something like this.

Meanwhile, rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes has been ruled out with a sprained ankle.

"It sounds like the ankle isn't real serious," Billick said. "Hopefully, he'll be back Monday." Fullback Le'Ron McClain returned to practice Friday morning after a bout with heat-related leg cramps. Trainers packed him in ice and carted him off the field.

He's scheduled to start against the Redskins and is currently the frontrunner to enter the season atop the depth chart since veteran Justin Green remains out after undergoing knee surgery late last year.

"I'm good now, I was taking a lot of reps and I didn't know it would be that hot up here," said McClain, a fourth-round draft pick from Alabama. "The heat kind of got to me. I didn't know it gets this hot in Maryland. I definitely needed to drink some more fluids."

Nose guard Kelly Gregg (deep thigh bruise) is still out, but isn't limping as badly and is no longer wearing a compression brace on his right leg. He took a helmet to his right leg and has missed the past few days of practice. Tight end Quinn Sypniewski (stomach flu) returned to practice.

The following five players are on the physically unable to perform list and won't be available: offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) and Mike Kracalik (ankle), linebackers Dan Cody (knee surgery) and Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) and Green.

SATISFIED: After one week of training camp at McDaniel College, Billick seems satisfied with the amount and quality of work accomplished so far.

"Yeah, we had a very good first week," he said. That is, with one notable exception. Billick definitely wasn't pleased with a ragged start to Friday morning's practice.

"I told the players, ‘You had better send me some flowers in the morning because you screwed me today,'" Billick said. "It didn't start out well. The thing I liked is once I told them what I wanted, they changed from there and stepped it up."

SCARY MOMENT: There was a scare involving Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap when he was knocked to the turf and was initially slow to get up, drawing a gasp from an overflow crowd.

Although Heap was favoring his right ankle, he recovered quickly and got back on the field. That prompted a huge collective sigh of relief from the fans.

STRIPES: The Ravens were visited by a crew of NFL officials, who advised the team on penalties and points of emphasis in the rule book.

"They helped us out," Billick said. "The guys know they have to be accountable to the rules. This year is pretty straight forward, not a lot of rule changes."

QUICK HITS: Gerome Sapp intercepted a Kyle Boller throw meant for wide receiver Damien LinsonDemetrius Williams drew heavy applause when he rose high into the air above cornerback Willie Gaston for an acrobatic touchdown pass delivered by Troy Smith. … Steve McNair connected with Heap on a 25-yard touchdown pass. … With linebacker Terrell Suggs chanting his name, veteran kicker Matt Stover hooked his first field goal attempt wide left. … Return specialist B.J. Sams has been practicing as an emergency cornerback with the third-string defense. … Rhys Lloyd, a British kicker from NFL Europe, still hasn't reported to camp due to visa issues. … Several tickets are still available for the scrimmage. … The following players have been ruled out for the Redskins: running back Clinton Portis (knee), offensive tackle Chris Samuels (knee), cornerback Jerametrius Butler (hamstring), tight end Tyler Ecker (groin), wide receiver Mike Espy (knee), linebacker Dallas Sartz (hamstring) and fullback Pete Schmitt (shoulder).

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

Ravens Insider Top Stories