Gaither could be back soon, Ayanbadejo on IR

OWINGS MILLS -- The injury outlook for the Baltimore Ravens is a mixed bag of news with offensive tackle Jared Gaither's neck and shoulder condition not regarded as particularly serious, and special-teams ace and inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo ruled out for the season with a torn quadriceps tendon.

The Ravens are awaiting results of Gaither's magnetic resonance imaging exam conducted Monday after X-rays were ruled as negative at Massachusetts General Hospital on Sunday. The 6-foot-9, 340-pound left tackle collided with quarterback Joe Flacco's back, suffering a severe stinger during a 27-21 loss to the New England Patriots.

Gaither accompanied his teammates on the charter flight back to Baltimore and was at the Ravens' training complex Monday.

At this point, the Ravens aren't expecting Gaither to be out for long.

"We're real hopeful it's not extended, he could play this week because it's not a serious injury as far as we know right now," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It could be a couple weeks, it could be longer. It's wait and see. We're real hopeful that he plays this week."

The Ravens are planning to officially place Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowl selection for his work on special teams, on injured reserve as soon as today.

And they are bringing back inside linebacker Prescott Burgess to the active roster, signing him off the Patriots' practice squad weeks after trading him for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Although Harbaugh said that the Ravens hadn't formally re-signed Burgess, he was at the Ravens' training complex Monday night to officially sign his contract and rejoin the team.

A former sixth-round pick for Baltimore in 2007, Burgess was tied for second on the team with five special-teams tackles prior to being traded.

On Sunday while getting around on crutches in the locker room, Ayanbadejo said that he tore his left quadriceps tendon and would undergo surgery.

"It's a big loss," Harbaugh said. "Someone else is going to have to step up."

The Ravens were utilizing Ayanbadejo heavily in their sub package as a nickel linebacker, playing him 20 to 30 snaps per game on defense. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting a pass and recording a sack against the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm very impressed with what he did," Harbaugh said. "How he blossomed as a football player has just been neat to see. It's disappointing to lose him, but he'll be back next year ready to go."

NO REGRETS: After drawing criticism for having quarterback Joe Flacco attempt a career-high 47 passes while running the football a season-low 17 times despite a 6.8 average per carry, Harbaugh defended offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's game plan.

"The way they lined up certainly makes it profitable to throw the ball," Harbaugh said. "We ran the ball well. I think every game's going to be different. We've said many times before that we could come out and throw the ball 50 times a game, 60 times a game or we may run it 50, 60 times a game.

"Every game, you can't exactly sure which way it's going to go. In the end, it will balance out to some extent."

Running back Ray Rice rushed for 103 yards on 11 carries, including a 50-yard jaunt. Willis McGahee started, but was ineffective with only 11 yards on five carries.

Ravens center Matt Birk said that the Patriots' strategy played a role in the decision to abandon the run.

The Patriots rank 10th against the run and were particularly stout in short yardage situations with massive nose guard Vince Wilfork back in the lineup.

"They're certainly very good against the run," Birk said. "They do things to take away your game. I think against a good running team, teams want to stop that first. I think that's just the way it played out."

The Ravens averaged 430.3 yards of total offense and 34.3 points per contest during their first three games, but were limited to 363 yards of offense and 14 points on offense Sunday.

"I think the play-calling has been tremendous, and the results have obviously borne that out," Harbaugh said. "We ran the ball well. That was kind of the way the game played out."

NOT GIVING UP ON CARR: Although Chris Carr fumbled the opening kickoff to set the Patriots up for an easy field goal and rookie Lardarius Webb ripped off a 38-yard kickoff return, it doesn't appear that Carr is losing his job at this point.

Harbaugh declined to specify whether Webb will supplant Carr or take on a bigger workload.

"We're not disappointed with Chris Carr," Harbaugh said. "That fumble was hurtful, and he jumped right out and said it. That's something that can't happen.

"It was good to see Lardarius get in there and get the big return. That was a critical play in the game that set up the drive in the two-minute drive."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens don't seem concerned about wide receiver Mark Clayton's mental state after his critical dropped pass on fourth down in Patriots territory with 28 seconds remaining. "Mark's resilient," Harbaugh said. "Mark's tough. He wants that one back, but that wasn't the play of the game. It's easy to look at one play. " … Rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher drew heavy praise for his ability to shift from right tackle to left tackle when Gaither got hurt. "How many guys can do that in their fourth game in the NFL?" Harbaugh said. "That shows how special he is." … The Ravens are now 0-5 all-time against the Patriots. … Harbaugh began his press conference by passing on his condolences to the family of Baltimore Sun business editor Tim Wheatley, a former Sun sports editor killed in a car accident Monday morning. "We want to express our heartfelt condolences," Harbaugh said. "We're just very sorry for what happened to him."


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