Notebook: Wilcox: 'I'm ready to play'

OWINGS MILLS -- Following nearly a month-long recovery from a sprained ankle, Baltimore Ravens tight end Daniel Wilcox practiced Tuesday and proclaimed himself as likely to play Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Wilcox, who hadn't participated fully in a practice since Aug. 8, was in a walking boot to stabilize his left ankle just days ago.

However, he practiced without incident and even participated in some team drills that he punctuated with a touchdown catch.

"My ankle felt great," Wilcox said. "I've got a little bit of soreness on the outside. I feel like I'm ready to go. I feel about 98 percent."

A valuable backup to Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, Wilcox has waited a long time to get back on the field after missing the majority of the preseason.

"It's always a blessing to get back out there and run around and get back into the mix," Wilcox said. "It felt good."

If Wilcox doesn't have any medical setbacks Thursday or Friday during the Ravens' two fully-padded practices, it appears he'll probably be ready for this nationally-televised game at Paul Brown Stadium.

"He moved around well," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Obviously, putting on the pads on Thursday and Friday will be the real litmus test."

INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), safety Ed Reed (thigh bruise), cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained ankle), wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (bruised knee) and linebacker Antwan Barnes (sprained ankle) all practiced.

Clayton remains optimistic that he'll be available for the opener.

"I've been working hard with hopes that I will be playing," Clayton said. "We really want to come out of the blocks on fire. Now, 75 [Ogden], he's a big part of this offense and I'd like to be there to contribute as well."

Rolle wasn't dressed out at the end of practice, an indicator that he was held out of some team drills. Rolle said Thursday is the first day he'll participate in all drills.

QUICK HITS: Wide receiver Derrick Mason was excused from practice for personal reasons. "He had a personal issue he had to take care of and he's fine," Billick said. ... Defensive tackle Atiyyah Ellison was claimed by the San Francisco 49ers off the Ravens' practice squad. ... The Ravens took their team picture and held their kickoff luncheon at M&T Bank Stadium. "It feels like it's time to play," Billick said during the luncheon. "I'm a lot more insightful and, at 13-3, I'm a lot more intelligent than last year when I was the village idiot at 6-10." Billick also described the defending AFC North champions as a "very special, mature group with great chemistry and great talent."

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

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