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Notebook: Ravens to take cautious approach with Terrell Suggs

John HarbaughBaltimore RavensFootballTerrell SuggsDallas CowboysJoe Flacco

Although injured Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is eligible to begin practicing as soon as Wednesday under league rules, the Ravens are noncommittal on whether he'll rejoin his teammates on the field this week.

The Ravens are taking a cautious approach with the Defensive Player of the Year, according to team and league sources.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he hasn't made up his mind on when Suggs will begin practicing after he suffered a partial tear of his right Achilles tendon in late April during the NFL draft with Dr. Robert Anderson repairing the damage with a surgical procedure.

Suggs remains on the physically unable to perform list, but can be activated any time between now and the first week of November.

"We haven't decided that yet," Harbaugh said. "We'll make that decision obviously by Wednesday and we'll just have to see where we're at then and see how he's doing."

A source close to Suggs said he's unsure if he'll practice this week.

The Ravens have a three-week window to make a decision on Suggs' status or place him on injured reserve. Regardless of his readiness, though, the Ravens could opt to activate Suggs and carry him on the roster even if it takes him until late in the season to be able to play.

A source reiterated what it said following the Ravens' 9-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs -- that Suggs is more likely to return in the middle to later portion of November than this month.

"It's going to take time," the source said. "There's no reason to do anything risky with a guy this important. You have to think about the big picture with him."

Although Suggs has made steady progress in his rehabilitation, the Ravens have no intentions of doing anything to risk a potential setback and aggravate the injury.

Suggs has trained steadily at the Ravens' training complex, but still needs to work through scar tissue, get accustomed to contact again and return to optimal game shape.

Suggs led the Ravens with 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles last season. Without Suggs in the lineup, the Ravens' pass rush has languished with just 10 sacks in six games.

Ngata has sprained MCL

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sustained minor medial collateral damage in his right knee during a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

The source characterized the sprained knee as a "tweak," and Ngata is expected to play Sunday against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

"A relief, sure," Harbaugh said. "Absolutely, I'm very grateful for that. His injury is minor."

Ngata also aggravated a minor right shoulder injury Sunday. However, Ngata returned to play after being examined and finished with six tackles and the Ravens' only sack of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

"I had to fight through that throughout the game," Ngata said. "They got me pretty good. I felt like I would finish all along. I just didn't want to not finish. We had a good rotation going."

Offensive line holds up

With the exception of a single spin move by Dallas Cowboys star outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware to get past left offensive tackle Michael Oher and tackle quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens allowed just one sack Sunday.

The Ravens' offensive line held up well overall as they surrendered just three quarterback hits.

"We got the victory, and Joe had decent time to throw the ball on a lot of plays," Oher said. "That's what we want. That's one of the best defenses we'll see all year. Those guys are great across the board. They do a great job at a lot of different things."

The Ravens had allowed four sacks against the Chiefs, but had much better pass protection this game.

"We did a good job all day up front," said Flacco, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 234 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 106.9 quarterback rating. "They're a pretty physical defense. They're a good defense, and they've got guys that can get to the passer. So, I think we did a good job all day of limiting that and getting the ball out of my hands. I think our receivers did a good job of beating the coverage pretty quickly, so I didn't have to hold onto it too long."

On the sack by Ware, offensive guard Bobbie Williams, who started his first game in replacing Ramon Harewood, got bull-rushed to the ground by defensive tackle Jason Hatcher.

"I think I did pretty well," Williams said. "I did trip that one play. I always think you can do better. I'm going to beat this film up and find a way."

Rookie offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele allowed two sacks and four quarterback pressures against the Chiefs, but did fairly well against outside linebacker Victor Butler. He allowed one pass deflection.

The Ravens' line received some sharp criticism last week from the coaching staff.

"We knew we had a challenge," said Osemele, a second-round draft pick. "Coach [Harbaugh] kind of called us out a bit. We responded and answered the bell, pride on the line and everything."

End zone

The Cowboys built a commanding time of possession advantage, 40:03 to 19:57, as they outgained the Ravens in total offense with 481 yards to 316 yards. "It's important," Harbaugh said. "I always believe it starts with the defense. You take it on your own shoulders and say, 'Let's get off the field.'" ... Harbaugh saluted Orioles manager Buck Showalter before kickoff. Showalter was an honorary game captain. "I looked back and 'Bam,' there he was," Harbaugh said. "It's like, 'That's Buck Showalter. Hey, Buck. I think you're great.' I said, 'Hey, we've got to talk.'"

awilson@baltsun.com¿ 

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John HarbaughBaltimore RavensFootballTerrell SuggsDallas CowboysJoe Flacco
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