Notebook: McGahee could miss Patriots game

WESTMINSTER -- Baltimore Ravens star running back Willis McGahee could be held out of the preseason opener Thursday night against the New England Patriots due to a left knee injury, according to coach John Harbaugh. McGahee has missed a lot of practice time because of an aching knee, and could be replaced in the lineup by rookie second-round draft pick Ray Rice.

"That's a possibility," Harbaugh said Sunday afternoon. "Right now, we need to get the fluid out of his knee and get that thing settled down a little bit."

Meanwhile, tight end Todd Heap missed practice with a right calf injury that isn't believed to be serious.

"I think his is more of a fatigue thing," said Harbaugh, adding that he hopes to have at least two healthy tight ends available Thursday. "He's got some kind of tweak in there, but he's fine."

Wide receiver Mark Clayton returned to practice after missing a day with a minor shoulder injury. He's on target to start against New England.

"I feel good, no problem," Clayton said. "The soreness went away."

Running back Cory Ross returned to practice from a nagging toe injury and is slated to take part in a rotation this week with Rice and newcomer Alex Haynes.

"I'm trying to get back to being fully healthy and trying to cut and work my way back into game shape," Ross said. "I'm shooting to be 100 percent as soon as possible."

SUGGS UPDATE: The Ravens are remaining in touch on a daily basis with linebacker Terrell Suggs, but are uncertain when the franchise player is planning to report.

Suggs is skipping training camp due to his unhappiness with the franchise tag and has yet to sign his $8.472 million one-year hybrid defensive end-linebacker tender on his agent's advice. The Ravens were unable to strike a long-term deal with Gary Wichard, Suggs' representative, prior to an NFL deadline for franchise players last month.

"We do have an idea of what he's thinking, but it's just an idea right now," said Harbaugh, adding that the Ravens have been keeping Suggs apprised of defensive scheme installations and changes. "We don't have any certainty."

When asked if he believes that Suggs will miss the entire preseason, which he's allowed to do without penalty under NFL collective bargaining agreement rules governing franchise players, Harbaugh replied: "I wouldn't say. I can't speak for him."

Although Suggs' teammates are sweating it out in the August heat while he works out on his own with a personal trainer, Harbaugh said the prolonged absence due to a contract dispute doesn't bother him.

"It really doesn't bother me," Harbaugh said. "It's part of the game. Would you like to have every guy here? Absolutely, but the business side is the business side. This guy loves football.

"And he wants to be here, I know that. I know he's worked himself really hard in the offseason to stay in great shape. He's got to take care of the other side the way he sees fit, but we want him here as soon as possible and we're hoping to get him here."

INJURY UPDATE: Several players didn't practice besides Suggs, Heap and McGahee.

That lengthy group includes: linebacker Edgar Jones (concussion, right leg), defensive end Dan Cody (right foot), nose guard Kelly Gregg (left knee), wide receivers Demetrius Williams (left Achilles' tendon) and Patrick Carter (dislocated left shoulder), defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (sprained right medial collateral ligament) and Justin Bannan (undisclosed), tight ends Daniel Wilcox (offseason toe surgery) and Aaron Walker (left knee), offensive tackles Adam Terry (sprained left ankle), Jared Gaither (sprained right ankle) and Oniel Cousins (sprained right knee), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), cornerback Samari Rolle (bereavement).

Ngata and Cousins were limited in drills, and Wilcox, Walker, Bannan, Williams and Reed worked out on the side.

"I'm getting better," Cousins said. "I should be back all the way soon."

Fullback Justin Green (left knee) returned to practice.

QUICK HITS: The Ravens seemed to have a spring in their step after being granted 24 hours off before returning to campus for a workout in shorts. Some players traveled, others caught up on their sleep and many frequented restaurants and movies. "I think mentally it was good for them get away," Harbaugh said. "They saw their families." ... Harbaugh singled out cornerback David Pittman, who intercepted a Kyle Boller pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, as someone who got bigger and stronger through the team's offseason strength and conditioning program. ... When rookie safety Haruki Nakamura dropped a Troy Smith pass, he promptly dropped to the ground to pump out 10 push-ups. Several linebackers, including Gary Stills and Nick Greisen, had to do pushups when they dropped linebackers coach Greg Mattison's throws during a pass-coverage drill ... Rice skidded out of bounds past the ropes that keep the fans from encroaching the field, and one of those fans helped break his fall to keep him from tumbling down the hill. … Rookie safety Tom Zbikowski took his turn with the first-string defense.

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

Ravens Insider Top Stories