Notebook: Gaither injured at practice

WESTMINSTER -- The Baltimore Ravens' precarious offensive tackle situation took a turn for the worse Saturday morning when starting left tackle Jared Gaither was carted off the field at the end of practice. Gaither had his right ankle taped up and didn't attend the afternoon session.

Although it's unclear how long Gaither will be out, the injury isn't believed to be serious and the former University of Maryland player is expected to try to practice as soon as the next few days. He didn't need crutches and his foot is in a small, lace-up brace.

The Ravens have a policy of not commenting on injuries.

The injury to the 6-foot-9, 330-pound projected successor to retired All-Pro tackle Jonathan Ogden triggered an immediate line shuffle.

Starting right tackle Adam Terry moved back to his natural left tackle spot, and reserve Mike Kracalik filled in on the right side.

Complicating the situation further is the fact that Terry isn't completely recovered from offseason ankle surgery and is noticeably limping.

"He looks to me like he's about 85-90 percent as far as the mobility part of it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He looks like he's got some functional strength and some power there, but, every now and then, he gets a little light on it. I'm sure he's fighting through a lot of pain."

Gaither had trouble with the heat and the fast tempo, bending over at the waist often to catch his breath before his injury.

Although Gaither has struggled to deal with speed rushers in blocking drills, he had drawn mild praise when camp opened.

"He looked good to me," Harbaugh said.

Starting fullback Le'Ron McClain was helped off the field due to heat cramps.

He was activated from the non-football injury list after passing his conditioning test, a series of 150-yard timed shuttle runs. What was the problem? He had to practice after taking the running test.

"That man is tired," linebacker Bart Scott said. "That thing will wear you out, so let's be fair."

Cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) passed his physical and was activated from the non-football injury list.

Cornerback Fabian Washington was activated from the non-football injury list after passing his conditioning test on the second try. He took snaps in the nickel package.

The former Oakland Raiders starter was slowed by a hamstring injury during minicamps.

"My hamstring is back and it feels good running around with the guys," Washington said. "I'm tired, but that comes with the territory. The running test is no joke. I feel good and I'm ready to make an impact on this team."

EXCUSED: Ray Lewis, McAlister, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason and general manager Ozzie Newsome flew to Florida on team owner Steve Bisciotti's private jet to attend the funeral for cornerback Samari Rolle's father.

Harry Rolle died last week of a heart attack.

It's unclear when Rolle will report, but the Ravens aren't rushing him.

"The timetable is Samari's right now," Harbaugh said.

AQUA RAVENS: Wide receiver Demetrius Williams and tight end Daniel Wilcox took a unique approach to rehabbing their respective injuries: swimming in the pool at the team hotel.

Wilcox is recovering from offseason toe surgery, and Williams has a lower left leg injury.

The two players had resistance equipment attached to their waists to make the workout tougher in the five-foot deep pool. Both are on the physically unable to perform list.

Meanwhile, running back P.J. Daniels (upper body) and cornerback David Pittman (foot) remain sidelined. Pittman covered veteran trainer Bill Tessendorf as he worked out on the side . Tessendorf's patterns weren't bad considering he's entering his 36th season in the NFL. Pittman and Reed (undisclosed) are on the PUP list. McAlister (knee) is on the non-football injury list.

WHISTLES ON: A crew of NFL officials are overseeing practices this weekend, and will go over new rule interpretations with the players Monday.

Harbaugh is taking a friendly approach with officials as he enters his first season in Baltimore.

"Basically, my rule of thumb is as long as they call it for us then I will get along with them well," he said. "But as soon as they start calling it for the other team, then I think the relationship starts to deteriorate a little bit. They all like me. I'm a nice guy.

"My goal is to have a good relationship with the off icials. They do a really good job. It's not really adversarial very often. Sometimes, it gets frustrating, but I think they understand that."

When asked if Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid had ever had to calm him down on the sidelines, Harbaugh replied: "On a rare occasion, Andy has grabbed me and told me to shut up in not such nice terms."

RING THE BELL: Tight end Todd Heap was an unexpected combatant as the latest opponent for pugilistic linebacker Jarret Johnson.

The two players are good friends, and Heap isn't known for fighting. During the brief scrap, Haloti Ngata shoved Heap, who responded by throwing punches at the massive defensive tackle.

The intensity and the heat are definitely running high.

TICKET SALE: The Ravens sold out their single-game tickets for the first seven regular-season games of the regular season in a few minutes with a limited number available for home finale Dec. 28 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

There are less than 1,000 tickets available for the two home preseason games: Aug. 16 against the Minnesota Vikings and Aug. 28 against the Atlanta Falcons.

QUICK HITS: All three co mpeting quarterbacks, Troy Smith, Kyle Boller and Joe Flacco, took snaps with the first offense. Smith punctuated a touchdown pass to Ernie Wheelwright by running down the field for a flying chest bump. He was erratic initially, but displayed a lot of confidence in the second practice ... Boller threw a nice pass to tight end Aaron Walker after some wild throws in the first practice. He also completed a hook-and-ladder to Marcus Smith, who flipped it to&nb sp;Heap. ... Flacco was intercepted by safety Haruki Nakamura off a deflection from linebacker Jameel McClain. Flacco had an athletic scramble. ... Wide receiver Matt Willis had a great diving catch on a Flacco pass. ... Running back Ray Rice dashed away from a crowd for a long touchdown run. ... Linebacker Bart Scott disrupted the backfield on several blitzes.

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


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