Mason might not be ready for training camp

OWINGS MILLS -- Recuperating from a fairly significant shoulder injury that required surgery and could sideline him for training camp, Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason would only make one guarantee about his timetable for making a full recovery. Mason predicted that he'll definitely be back in time for the season opener after surgery to repair a damaged labrum and scapula.

"I guarantee I'll be ready by the first game, that's all I can say," said Mason, who didn't participate in the Ravens' mandatory minicamp that=2 0wrapped up Sunday. "Everything else, we'll play by ear."

That apparently includes a training camp that begins in late July in Westminster, which the Ravens' leading wide receiver could be sidelined for.

"Don't know, I really don't," Mason said. "All I can say for certain, well, not even for certain, if everything continues to progress the way it has been, I'll be ready for the first game."

Mason had his shoulder examined in San Francisco, and doctors discovered more damage in the X-rays than they initially expected.

"There was no way around it," Mason said. "I couldn't put it off, so I might as well just get it all done in one stop. It turned out to be more than we anticipated, but great doctors find a way to mend you back."

STAKING HIS CLAIM: Although there was no immediate contract offer for Kelley Washington, he was clearly the most impressive of the three veteran free agent wide receivers that auditioned for the Ravens this weekend.

A former Cincinnati Bengals third-round draft pick, Washington turned in a diving touchdown catch on a Troy Smith throw and celebrated the score with an end-zone dance.

"Kelley did well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Kelley is a big, strong receiver."

The Ravens are pondering the respective merits of Washington, Jerry Porter and Tab Perry. Washington appears to have separated himself from the pack, though.

"To be fair, we would like to sign at least one guy," Harbaugh said. "But it depends on their situation and what else they have going on. It's just hard to predict right now, but we liked all three guys."

Washington has a veteran minimum contract offer from the Washington Redskins, but is hoping to receive a competing offer from the Ravens as soon as today after team officials deliberate about what they saw this weekend.

"It would be a great problem to have," Washington said. "It's a situation where I have to weigh the pros and cons of each situation and go from there. I was in Washington and they offered me a deal, but I didn't take it. I wanted to come here and experience what it was like to be a Raven, how they worked and how they do things here.

"I just wanted to run around and get a feel for their situation offensively and special teams. It was a good experience. I did some good things. There are some things I need to work on. It's just all part of being a free agent and trying to make the team. I was able to make a couple plays, run around and compete."

INJURY UPDATE: Starting offensive guard Ben Grubbs didn't practice this weekend following offseason ankle surgery.

"He's actually probably ahead of schedule," Harbaugh said.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither didn't practice Sunday due to a migraine headache.

"He just couldn't go," Harbaugh said. "He tried, he took the medication early, but it didn't clear up quick enough."

Offensive tackle Adam Terry has been able to take part in s ome positional drills as he recovers from having a cyst removed from his surgically-repaired knee.

Terry underwent arthroscopic surgery during the season, and his latest procedure performed after the season by Dr. James Andrews.

"I think I'm on track," Terry said. "I started running a couple of weeks ago. It's going pretty well so far."

Tight end L.J. Smith didn't practice due to a groin problem related to sports hernia surgery a few years ago when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith might return for upcoming passing camps.

Rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb wasn't able to practice after tweaking his left hamstring.

"It's minor, I wanted to get back out there," Webb said. "I should be back soon. They don't want me to rush it."

OFF AND RUNNING: Rookie defensive end-linebacker Paul Kruger made up for lost time after arriving in Baltimore at 6 a.m. Friday after catching a red-eye flight from Utah following his sister's wedding.

"I was dead tired, but I got here, took my physical, threw on my gear and went out there," said Kruger, a second-round pick. "They expect a lot out of you, but they understand that you're not going to know it all in one day. I want to show them that I can rush the passer and will play hard and run to the ball every time."

After missing the opening defensive meeting, Kruger was so tired that he nearly fell asleep during a catch-up session with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

"That p oor son of a gun, he missed the installation and I'm out there yelling at him because he doesn't know the defenses," Mattison said. "My god, he couldn't keep his head up. The poor guy was [nodding off], and I'm asking him every question., 'OK, what about this?, and he's giving me the answer.

"I'm really excited about him. He's a Raven that plays with a high motor. Tough kid, and he's going to fit right in with what we want to do."

Kruger looked energetic and mobile over the past few days, intercepting a Flacco pass and displaying a crisp spin move in pass-rush drills.

"All the things that we knew about Paul, he showed," Harbaugh said. "He has a big motor. We had to call him off the quarterback a couple of times here, in shorts."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh praised first-round offensive tackle Michael Oher, Webb, tight end Davon Drew, offensive tackle Joe Reitz and running back Cedric Peerman, also singling out wide receiver Marcus Smith. Smith and Justin Harper both had strong minicamps. "You have to say that Marcus Smith has gotten a lot better throughout the course of the season last year," Harbaugh said. "He made a bunch of catches in this camp. Hard work pays off. He's done really well." ... Several veterans ages 30 and over were given the day off, including middle linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive end Trevor Pryce. Center Matt Birk elected to practice even though he's 32. "He was 29 today," Harbaugh said. ... Team officials are hoping fo r high attendance at the remaining voluntary minicamps. "We want everybody here every day," Harbaugh said. "That's what we're pushing for. Guys will have issues where they won't be able to be here every day, but I know all the guys will make every effort to be here every day." ... Both Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano struggled to deal with cross winds that pushed accurate kicks outside of the uprights. "I think we've got two good, young kickers," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "I don't think they're ready to play today in the NFL, but we don't have to play today." ... Undrafted rookie defensive back Kevin Gerard (Northern Arizona) intercepted two passes.

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

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