McGahee likely to play against Steelers

OWINGS MILLS -- Although Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee is still dealing with a lacerated right eyelid and swelling, he is expected to play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being upgraded on the injury report. McGahee has been wearing sunglasses because of sensitivity to light after suffering a cut in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns.

He was also poked in the left eye.

Listed as probable, McGahee increased his activity to full participation in practice Friday for the first time this week.

"I don't know how it's going to be, to tell you the truth," McGahee said prior to practice. "I'm going to go out here and try to practice and see what goes on after that."

Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron expressed optimism about McGahee's outlook.

"He's doing fine from what I can tell," Cameron said. "His eye doesn't look great, but I think he's been doing okay in meetings. He's getting ready to play, that's the important thing."

McGahee rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in a 28-10 win over Cleveland. Even if he plays, he's expected to share playing time with fullback LeRon McClain and rookie Ray Rice.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh filed a complaint with the league office, asking NFL officials to watch film to determine whether the Browns intentionally gouged McGahee's eyes. However, the Browns were absolved of any wrongdoing Thursday as a league spokesman cited a lack of evidence.

"I don't even know what happened, to tell you the truth," said McGahee, adding that he has not watched the game. "I'm just finding out about it. I don't know what the call was.

"My eye was leaking and I couldn't see, so I just ran off the field. That's how it ended up that I knew I had a cut up on my eyelid."

Cameron offered a brief comment concurring with the league's decision.

"I don't know that anything was done intentionally," he said.

When asked if he planned to wear protective goggles like former NFL running back Eric Dickerson, McGahee replied: "Goggles? Nah, I'm not that old."

WORKING THE KINKS OUT: Matt Stover is one of the most accurate kickers in league history, which makes it even more surprising that he has missed more field goals than he has made this season.

Stover ranks third in NFL history behind Mike Vanderjagt and Shayne Graham, but has converted just one of three field goals this year.

The veteran kicker hit a 21-yard chip shot, but has missed two deeper kicks in the final year of a five-year contract.

Under new special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, Stover has been adjusting to a faster snap-and-hold procedure.

In a miss from 47 yards in the season opener, Stover's approach was too rapid. He struck the right upright from 48 yards against the Browns as he slowed down too much to overcompensate.

"I was a little quick the first game of the season, everything was really fast in front of me," Stover said. "I made an adjustment and I hit it off the right upright.

"I wish I could have kicked it over again, but they're makeable kicks. You've got to come back and hit them."

Stover, 40, has connected on 436 of 522 kicks for an 83.5 percent conversion rate. He hasn't missed more than five field goals in a season since 1998.

"I'm certainly concerned," Rosburg said. "I'd be more concerned if I didn't watch him every day in practice and see him work on his skills and practice well. He's kicked well through training camp and I think what we've seen so far is two kicks that he didn't make.

"He has analyzed them like Matt does. He knows what happened. The good news is he knows how to fix it."

INJURY REPORT: Wide receiver Yamon Figurs (hamstring) is questionable, as are linebacker Nick Greisen (quadriceps) and offensive tackle Adam Terry (ankle).

Greisen didn't practice.

Figurs, Terry, quarterback Troy Smith (tonsil infection) and middle linebacker Ray Lewis (foot) were limited.

Lewis is listed as probable along with McClain (migraine), linebacker Tavares Gooden (hip) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (shoulder).

Wilcox and McClain were upgraded to full participation.

"He's full-go," Cameron said of McClain, the Ravens' leading rusher. "He was great in meetings this morning and he will be ready to play."

The Ravens officially ruled out Smith.

The Steelers upgraded hard-hitting safety Troy Polamalu (quadriceps) to full participation and listed him as probable.

GREGG UPDATE: Gregg remains hopeful that he will play again this season despite a hole in the cartilage in his left knee that is causing him significant pain.

Gregg underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery in August and hasn't played yet this year.

"I had a setback a couple of weeks ago, but I'm working toward coming back," Gregg said. "I took some injections and tried everything. There's really not much else you can do.

"Just treat it every day and hope it settles down. You bet I'll be back this year. Ain't nothing going to knock me down."

Until this year, Gregg hadn't missed a game since 2004. Justin Bannan has been starting in Gregg's place in the middle and has eight tackles and one sack.

"They shut me down last week," Gregg said. It's a slow process. I've never dealt with anything like this."

QUICK HITS: Ravens rookie safety Haruki Nakamura has been imitating the long-haired Polamalu on the scout team this week, donning a black wig under his helmet at Harbaugh's suggestion. "They've been calling me Haruki Polamalu," Nakamura said. "It's all in fun. Coach Harbaugh thought it would be a good idea. I kind of play like him, so I've been trying to do a good job all week with that." ... Linebacker Bart Scott pointed out that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't have started as a rookie if not for former Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter's ligament-tearing hit on Tommy Maddox's right elbow on Sept. 19, 2004. "He really owes us some money for his career because we got Tommy Maddox out of there, and he was born," Scott said. "So, he really owes me some of that $100 million. Holler at me, Ben." … Baltimore Orioles pitcher Lance Cormier visited practice as a guest of linebacker Jarret Johnson. Both players attended the University of Alabama. ... Center-guard Chris Chester wore a No. 48 jersey at practice, but was seen practicing with the offensive line during the portion of practice open to reporters. Chester played tight end at Oklahoma. ... Defensive end Dwan Edwards had an Oregon State T-shirt hanging up in his locker following the Beavers' stunning 27-21 upset victory over top-ranked USC on Thursday night.

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


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