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Jonathan Ogden

Injury healing, but Ogden unsure about Week 1

The Baltimore Sun

Two weeks away from the Ravens' regular-season opener, Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said he can't guarantee he'll be ready to play.

Ogden remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a toe injury, which has sidelined him through the offseason and preseason.

"My goal is to get out there for Week 1," Ogden told The Sun yesterday. "It's still too soon to really say with any certainty that it's going to happen."

If Ogden is unable to play in the opener at Cincinnati, the Ravens likely would go with rookie Jared Gaither, who has played well filling in for Ogden this summer.

Although the Ravens have never placed a timetable on Ogden, they were hoping he would return to practice by early this week. But the 10-time Pro Bowl lineman watched from the sideline yesterday.

It's uncertain when he'll practice.

"Maybe [today] or the next day," Ogden said. "I don't know. I'm still officially on PUP, so I don't know."

Ogden hyperextended the big toe on his left foot in a Dec. 17 win over the Cleveland Browns and missed the final two regular-season games last season.

He started in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but he aggravated the injury that game.

Ogden did not have surgery but was told by a specialist after last season that he would need four to six months to recover.

During the offseason, he contemplated retirement because of the injury but decided before the NFL draft in April that he wanted to play this year.

Ogden said yesterday that the toe has improved.

"It's getting better week by week," he said. "I've tried to explain that it's not one of those things that's day-to-day. It's not like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and it'll be great.

"It's gradually getting better. But it's gotten a lot better since the start of [training] camp."

The Ravens have been patient with Ogden because he played so well last season after having a limited preseason.

Ogden didn't practice last year until Aug. 19 so he could mourn the death of his father, and played in two preseason games.

But this year, team officials said, Ogden is ahead of schedule because he's been sitting in team meetings for the entire month.

"The fact that he's been engaged from Day One is a huge difference than what happened last year," Billick said at the end of training camp.

If Ogden can return to practice today or tomorrow, the Ravens likely will leave it up to him whether he wants to play in Friday's preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Ravens starters generally play a series or two in the final preseason game.

"Would I like to get some reps in? Yeah," Ogden said. "But that's all dependent on how the toe responds when I start doing some stuff again. It's hard to judge until I actually try to practice and try to make some football moves. So, it's hard to really judge."

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