Notebook: Ngata sidelined with sprained ankle

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was sidelined during practice Wednesday due to a sprained right ankle, an injury that has created doubt regarding his availability for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ngata sprained his ankle in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos and didn't return. He was wearing a protective walking boot following the Ravens' 30-7 victory.

X-rays were determined to be negative, and the injury isn't regarded as a long-term setback.

It's unclear at this point if he'll be able to play this weekend.

"I'm anticipating Haloti is getting ready to play against the Bengals," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's a sprained ankle. We're hopeful that he'll be there, and there's a good chance he will. If not, someone else will play."

If Ngata is out or limited, Justin Bannan would start in his place at defensive tackle.

Meanwhile, three players missed practice due to an illness that's been going around.

That includes safety Tom Zbikowski, cornerback Frank Walker and linebacker Prescott Burgess.

Also missing practice: long snapper Matt Katula (elbow) and safety Haruki Nakamura (chest).

Tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and fullback Le'Ron McClain (shoulder) were limited.

Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder) participated fully.

Free safety Ed Reed reportedly had a brace on his forearm, but isn't listed on the injury report.

All of the Bengals practiced at some level of participation.

Fullback Jeremi Johnson (knee) and safeties Roy Williams (forearm) and Tom Nelson (shoulder) were limited.

Running back Bernard Scott (knee) and rookie offensive tackle Andre Smith (foot) practiced fully.

ON ITS WAY?: Bengals flamboyant wide receiver Chad Ochocinco told Cincinnati reporters that he has sent a package to Baltimore as a gift for the Ravens' defense.

"You're welcome in advance," Ochocinco said.

However, the Ravens aren't aware of any special delivery from Ochocinco.

Prior to a game five years ago, Ochocinco sent the Cleveland Browns' defensive backs a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

NOT A FAN: Free safety Ed Reed isn't a fan of Ochocinco's Twitter mania.

Ochocinco has made a habit out of using the social networking site to promote himself, and to bait opponents.

He has been challenging the Ravens in relatively amusing fashion ever since they finished their game against Denver.

Reed doesn't pay attention to the wide receiver's missives, in 140 characters or less.

"No, I don't," Reed said. "Next question. I don't care for his tweets."

NOT CHANGING: Middle linebacker Ray Lewis has no intentions of altering his aggressive style after being punished by the league office in the form of a $25,000 fine for his crushing helmet-to-helmet hit on Ochocinco during the Ravens' 17-14 loss last month.

"The game is always going to play out," Lewis said. "That's what I do, just like what he does is catch the ball. I roam the middle of the field.

"My job is to be coming in there and delivering whatever blow there is. I don't think nothing will change. He understands if he comes in there, what's going to go down."

When Lewis was asked if the hit left an image on opponents who dare to encroach on his territory, he replied: "Yeah, the image it left on my doggone checkbook. I'm not running by Chad [any]more."

MAKING PREDICTIONS: Prior to rookie Lardarius Webb's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Broncos, Lewis said he told the rookie he was going to take it the distance.

"When I heard the story, I was curious to know if Ray was seeing anything else like maybe the play before the opponent runs it or whatever," Harbaugh said. "That could be a big advantage for us.

"Ray's just a visionary leader. For that to happen and for Lardarius to have the success he had is just pretty interesting."

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs seemed amused by Lewis' Nostradamus impression.

"He hasn't really predicted one for me," Suggs said. "Maybe I've got to bring him to lunch or get him donuts, maybe bring him some coffee. If he did do that, he would be, ‘The Great Aristotle."

WINDING DOWN? Nearly halfway through the final remaining season on his $25 million contract, wide receiver Derrick Mason hasn't made any commitments to the Ravens beyond this year after briefly retiring this summer.

"What are you all going to do without me in a year?" Mason said in a reference to his loquacious media style. "Boy, oh boy. We'll figure that one out later. I didn't say I was retiring."

QUICK HITS: Reed came extremely close to blocking a punt against the Broncos, narrowly missing a few of Mitch Berger's punts. "The ball went through my hands," he said. "That was a rookie mistake. You've got to have those hands tight to take it off the foot." ... Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer called Lewis and Reed future Hall of Famers. "It don't mean nothing to me right now, man," Reed said. "I couldn't care less about Hall of Fame and all that stuff right now. I've still got this year to play. That stuff is out the door for me, man. I'll think about that when the ballots are coming." … Palmer noted the difference between former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's organized chaos schemes and current defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's more conservative approach. "I think it's just a different mentality," Palmer said. "Same players, same mindset, same goals, but just a few different looks. They play a little more sound, I think. Guys are staying within themselves and within the defense and really playing really good. It's really the same task at hand, but just a little bit different look and a little bit different philosophy." Palmer noticed that Mattison loosened up the scheme a bit against the Broncos, blitzing more. "A little bit more pressuring, I know they felt like they kind of found something new or found the way they're going to play now," Palmer said. "Really, it wasn't a whole lot different. Why change what works? Just because you lose a couple of games, you don't want to be throwing everything out the window. We expect them to really come out with the same game plan with a couple of new wrinkles."


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