Ravens on the mend

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens got a bit healthier Friday as offensive tackle Jared Gaither, free safety Ed Reed, cornerback Samari Rolle and wide receiver Derrick Mason were upgraded on the final injury report of the week. All four starters were held out Thursday, but Mason (dislocated left shoulder) participated fully in practice Friday and the other three were limited.

All four players were listed as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Washington Redskins.

Gaither and Mason aggravated their respective shoulder injuries earlier this week.

"They were both sore," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Derrick's thing, not in the game but on Monday and Tuesday just in life, irritated it. Wednesday, it was hurting him so we decided to back him off on Thursday.

"Jared, really the same thing. It was between Sunday and Wednesday they do stuff and, all of a sudden, it comes up real sore. So, we just felt like we had to hold them back, but they seem like they're fine."

Mason has been dealing with chronic pain ever since he popped his shoulder out of joint against the Houston Texans.

"It's getting colder, aching a little bit," Mason said. "But if I can go play, I'm going to play. I'm not going to worry about it too much, get my treatment, protect it in practice.

"Once I start worrying about it, then it hampers my play a little bit. So, don't worry about it and just trust that I'm going to come out of the game not injured anymore than what it is."

Rolle and Reed are dealing with hamstring injuries, and grabbed the back of their legs in a 34-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Samari is good," Harbaugh said. "We wanted to be safe with those guys on Wednesday and Thursday, so it seems like they're OK."

Running back Willis McGahee has been dealing with migraine headaches, but returned to practice Friday and took a full workload. He's listed as probable.

"He's fine," Harbaugh said.

Defensive tackle Lamar Divens (shoulder) and offensive guard David Hale (ankle) are doubtful.

The Ravens listed linebacker Nick Greisen (back), linebacker Bart Scott (shoulder), cornerback Fabian Washington (shoulder) and wide receiver Marcus Maxwell (hip) as probable.

The Redskins ruled out linebacker Marcus Washington (ankle), listing running back Clinton Portis (neck/knee), cornerback Shawn Springs (calf), defensive end Andre Carter (foot), linebacker London Fletcher (foot), defensive tackle Kedrick Gholston (ankle) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (shoulder/abdomen) as questionable.

Redskins coach Jim Zorn told Washington reporters that he expects Portis to play. Portis participated in Friday's practice on a limited basis.

"I saw Clinton out there running," Zorn said, "so I expect him to play."

REMEMBRANCE: One year after the murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor in a home invasion, this game sparks memories of a fallen colleague for Reed.

The former University of Miami teammates were close friends and he remains in Reed's thoughts and prayers.

"When it happened, just thinking about it at the time, it's a hurtful thought," Reed said. "You don't want to see none of your buddies pass at an early age, especially under those circumstances.

"At the same time, you learn from things because that's what it was for. I'm sure Sean would want to learn from it. You start to move on in a sense. In your own privacy, it's between you and God and Sean."

QUICK HITS: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron may not employ defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on a tackle-eligible play in the red zone for a few weeks. "You can overdo that stuff for a little bit," Cameron said. "We were short tackles there for a couple of games, so he can go in there and play tackle. Looks like we'll have all of our tackles this week, so that varies from week to week." ... NBC analyst John Madden visited the Ravens' practice, parking his famous Madden cruiser in the parking lot. "I know I was looking over there and thinking, 'Hey, John Madden,'" Harbaugh said. "Still a football coach, really interested in offensive line stuff, linebacker play, wanted to talk a lot about that stuff." ... Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is able to predict offensive plays breaking out of the huddle because of his extensive film study. "It's a high number," Lewis said. "Last week, T.J. Houshmandzadeh came at me and said, 'How do you know every play that's going to be run.' I was just like, 'No, I do a lot of studying.' It's a true sacrifice." ... Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs delivered the funniest line of the week when asked whether a victory would give the Ravens bragging rights over the Redskins when they run into each other at area bars, referencing New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg without mentioning his name. "I'm not going to a night club," Suggs said. "Haven't you heard what happened this past week?" ... During a news conference this week, Harbaugh swatted a slow-moving fly out of the air and exclaimed: "That was impressive. Did you just see that? Could coach Zorn do that?" ... Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor has more career sacks than any other active player with 118, but has registered just one this season. "People shouldn't get fooled or lulled to sleep by that," Ravens offensive tackle Willie Anderson said. "Jason brings it. He brings speed, size. He has a decent bull rush, but the main thing is he has different moves and he can counter you with things. He's one of those traditional great rushers."

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

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