Mason on the mend, Sypniewski has surgery

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason may have been a bit too conservative recently when gauging whether he would be able to take part in training camp following offseason shoulder surgery. Ravens coach John Harbaugh predicted that Mason will be ready for the majority of camp.

"I think there's a real good chance Derrick will be there for training camp, but that obviously depends on what's best for Derrick," Harbaugh said Wednesday at a passing camp. "I'm pretty sure Derrick will be there for most, if not all, of training camp."

Mason, who had his labrum and scapula in his left shoulder repaired, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday as he caught passes from quarterback Joe Flacco. He wore a red jersey signifying that he's off-limits to contact.

Weeks ago, Mason declined to specify when he'll be return other than saying he'll be ready for the Ravens' Sept. 13 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs."We'll see," Mason said. "I guarantee you, I'll be ready for the first game, that's all I can say. I'll be ready by the first game. Everything else, I'll just play it by ear."

That somewhat pessimistic pronouncement surprised Harbaugh.

"Yeah, that was news to me," he said.

Mason, who has requested a contract extension as he enters the final year of a five-year deal, seems to be making steady progress. "Derrick starting the season healthy is probably our No. 1 concern," Harbaugh said. "He's not a guy who's going to need a ton of training camp reps."

Meanwhile, tight end Todd Heap is getting closer to returning to practice after being hampered by a lingering lower back injury since January.

He practiced on a limited basis, participating in individual drills, and wasn't wearing a red jersey.

"Todd seems to be getting better," Harbaugh said. "He tells me that he's really improving quickly right now."

The prognosis for tight end Quinn Sypniewski isn't nearly as promising, though.

Sypniewski had surgery last week to reattach a piece of a bone in his knee. It was a follow-up procedure after undergoing major knee surg ery last spring to address an injury that sidelined him for all of last season.

"His outlook is questionable for the start of training camp," Harbaugh said.

Wide receiver Demetrius Williams, who's recovering from Achilles' tendon surgery he underwent last year, turned in an acrobatic, juggling one-handed touchdown catch on a fade pass from Flacco.

"I saw a nice one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone," Harbaugh said. "I didn't see him coming back from plays looking like he was favoring his foot as much. It looked to me like he's putting that out of his mind a little bit and just playing.

"[Tuesday], he caught a crossing route against man coverage and basically outran the secondary and probably scored. So, we're starting to see some of his speed come back."

Williams is slowly regaining his old form.

"I shouldn't have juggled it," he said. "I'm not feeling a burst yet, I'm feeling a bit stronger."

TWO LINEMEN SIGNED: The Ravens signed offensive linemen Lou Saucedo (Montana State) and Stefan Rodgers (Lambuth).

Saucedo tried out for the Chicago Bears recently, but wasn't signed to a deal.

Rodgers was cut by the Jaguars this month. The third-year lineman has previous stints with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans.

QUICK HITS: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata missed the voluntary practice while he completes his degree requirements. Free safety Ed Reed=2 0and running back Willis McGahee were absent for unspecified reasons. ... Tight end Edgar Jones caught a long touchdown pass from quarterback Troy Smith. ... Harbaugh said that cornerback Chris Carr is expected to be ready by training camp as he works his way back from shoulder surgery. ... Cornerback Frank Walker (shoulder surgery) and offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (torn pectoral) practiced without red jerseys. ... Among the other players still wearing red jerseys: cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), linebacker Jason Phillips (meniscus surgery), cornerback Fabian Washington (neck/shoulder surgeries), linebacker Antwan Barnes (pectoral surgery), tight end L.J. Smith (groin) and defensive tackle Kelly Talavou (shoulder surgery).


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