Notebook: J. Green atop depth chart

OWINGS MILLS -- In the span of one month, fullback Justin Green went from being declared physically unable to perform to climbing back atop the Baltimore Ravens' depth chart. Heading into the final preseason game, Green has recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season that sidelined him at the beginning of training camp.

Green shredded his knee against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 30 last year, and has gritted his way back into the starting lineup.

"The knee is feeling good," Green said. "I'm still working on it, trying to get all my strength back. It took a lot of work to get back to this point."

A 5-foot-11, 251-pounder who started three games last season, Green has held off the challenge of big rookie fullback Le'Ron McClain so far.

Entering his third NFL season, Green, a former college tailback at Montana, has started seven games with 11 career receptions for 49 yards.

"Losing Justin last year was one of those subtle, under-the-radar things that happened," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "That hurt us because he's such a substantial special-teamer for us. He's very versatile in the offense and what we can do with him. So to have him back and playing well is good."

This month, Green has registered three special-teams tackles and caught one pass for two yards. "I definitely came a long way," Green said. "I'm starting to get back in the groove of things and get back in a football frame of mind."

INJURY UPDATE: Rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes returned to practice, but was limited in some drills. With a nagging, right high ankle sprain, Barnes is likely to be a game-time decision Friday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Meanwhile, tight end Daniel Wilcox wasn't present during the portion of practice that's open to the media. Wilcox, who has been hampered for weeks with a sprained left ankle, has said he thought he would play Friday.

Safety Ed Reed (thigh contusion) returned to practice, but was limited.

Not practicing: cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained ankle) and wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle).

Linebackers Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) and Dan Cody (knee surgery) remain on the physically unable to perform list.

SEASON OVER: With second-year running back P.J. Daniels being designated on injured reserve with a hamstring injury this week, this will mark the second consecutive year that the former fourth-round pick won't play in an NFL game. The former Georgia Tech star was a healthy scratch for every game last year as a rookie.

Daniels said he would likely have fully recovered from his tweaked hamstring in a few weeks, but the timing of the situation ultimately prevented the Ravens from waiting any longer to determine his status.

"It didn't heal as fast as it needed to," Daniels said. "It was a numbers game. The main thing is my body is going to heal up so I can come back next year with a positive mindset. "At first when I got hurt, they thought it would just take two weeks. But it took an extra two weeks and that was just too long for what the team needed at this time."

QUICK HITS: Team officials have been encouraged by the work of reserve defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who missed the final six games of last season with a dislocated left big toe that required surgery. "That hurt us a lot when we lost Justin," Billick said. "He was playing very well for us, and those 10, 12, 15 snaps he might make for us are huge." ... Former Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail attended practice. "It looks like he can still play," joked Billick, who's still hoping either Devard Darling or Clarence Moore will establish themselves as a fourth receiver. ... Through three preseason games, second-year punter Sam Koch, a Westminster resident, is averaging nearly 47 yards on 12 punts. ... Wide receiver Demetrius Williams and Derrick Mason lead the team with six receptions apiece for 72 and 52 yards, respectively. ... Rookie wide receiver Yamon Figurs is averaging 36.8 yards per kickoff return with incumbent B.J. Sams averaging 18.6 yards. Sams is averaging 4.8 yards per punt return, and Figurs is averaging 7.8 yards.

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

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