By Edward Lee
2:37 PM EDT, October 22, 2011
Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith has practiced fully the past two days – an encouraging sign that the Ravens’ first-round pick in April could make his first appearance in a regular-season game since the team’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.
“I feel good,” Smith said after Saturday’s session. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to play this game, but I feel good. … I’m optimistic. Like I said before, I don’t really know what the coach is going to do.”
Smith has been absent since suffering a high left ankle sprain against the Steelers. Rehabilitation has been an agonizing ordeal for Smith, who said he had never been injured prior to this season.
“It’s something I had to adapt to,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. I didn’t know what to expect or how you come back from something like that. But the team has been real supportive, everybody has been supportive, just encouraging me. They keep my spirits lifted.”
Coach John Harbaugh was asked whether Smith would benefit from another week of rest.
“Yeah that’s probably part of it, but the other side of the coin is, you want to get a young guy out there playing,” Harbaugh said. “He needs to play, too. He hasn’t played much. He played very little in the preseason. I think that’s going to be tough for him. So both of those things are on our mind.”
Smith acknowledged that he would be thrilled to return on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It would mean a lot to me, a lot to the fans, and it would mean a lot to the team,” he said. “But they’re going to do what’s best for the team, and if I’m not ready to go, then they’re not going to put me out there.”
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