After the Ravens Week 4 victory over the New York Jets, John Harbaugh said the good thing about having a bye week at this juncture in the season is having time off to help repair the multitude of injured players. Unfortunately, seven days later, the walking wounded didn’t seem to benefit from having nearly a week off of mandatory practice.
Starting with guard Ben Grubbs, who’s been fighting a to injury and has been replaced on the offensive line by Andre Gurode for the past three games, returned to practice today but could only tell reporters he was “hopeful” about playing Sunday against Houston. Grubbs also said the bye week selfishly helped him personally but he’s still feeling a nagging pain that could sideline him another week. Thankfully, Gurode has filled in nicely at the guard position.
“I made steps towards getting back on the field,” said Grubbs, who was in a boot for most of the bye week. “Its just a question now of how it’s going to react (after practice today). I don’t even think I got through individuals last week and today I got through all the drills. It was a good day.
“The bye week was early for us but it worked out for me… not trying to be selfish.”
Lee Evans (high ankle sprain), who was set to make an impact as a veteran wide receiver after the team lost wide outs Derrick Mason, Donte Stallworth and TJ Houshmandzadeh in the offseason, also returned to practice today but seemed even less hopeful than Grubbs that he contribute on Sunday.
“It got better quickly and then plateaued a little bit. It’s kind of been feeling the same now,” said Evans who does not expect to have another MRI. “But it’s definitely not 100 percent either. Hopefully after today we can progress forward. I don’t know how it’s going to react.
“Anytime you can have a by during the season it’s great,” said Evans. “For me, personally, I may have done so well where I can get back after this week. We’ll have to see.”
Jimmy Smith also seemed doubtful he’s ready to return to the gridiron, unfortunately at a position where the Ravens are running thin. The first-year cornerback was expected to make a splash in the secondary, especially with Domonique Foxworth on the IR, Chris Carr with a hamstring issue, Tom Zbikowski out with a concussion, and Haruki Nakamura, who is dealing with a right posterior cruciate ligament in his knee, but did manage to practice today.
David Reed (shoulder) also practiced today. Chris Carr and Dannell Ellerbe were not available for comment during the open locker room period.