Caught between the need to rest his ailing left ankle and his desire to play, Ravens wide-out Lee Evans may err on the side of caution Sunday in St. Louis.

Sitting out to allow the injury to heal is an option that Evans and the Ravens may find more palatable this week than they did in the first two games of the season.

“We know that rest is one of the biggest things for it, which is why we try to approach the week the way we do,” Evans said. “We also want to be smart and not have the thing linger throughout the whole season. If we can get it to a point where we can rest it and still play on Sunday – and play effectively – then that’s the way to go.”

Evans missed Wednesday’s practice and may skip Thursday’s as well. But coach John Harbaugh reiterated Wednesday that he wants Evans to be healthy when he next plays in a game. The same goes for left guard Ben Grubbs and cornerbacks Chris Carr and Domonique Foxworth.

“Sometimes as a coach, you have to say, ‘You know what? Let’s get this thing right, get you healthy so you can come back and play at your very best.’ And that’s where we are with some of those guys right now,” Harbaugh said. “They may step up this week because they’ve been getting rehab all along, and they may feel good and they may be able to go. But they may not. We’ll just have to see how they feel.”

Evans’ injury surfaced in training camp over time, not from a specific play, he said. And while it’s the same ankle he hurt last year in Buffalo that sent him to Injured Reserve in December, it’s not the same injury. He has just two catches – for 32 and 13 yards – in two games and is obviously hampered.

“It is limiting,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent. It does limit some of the things I can do. But in the same breath, I’m able to do certain things effectively. … You try to protect it as much as you can, but it’s hard [to do] in a game. You’ve got to play the game, and you’re not always comfortable doing it.”

Evans, an eight-year veteran, said the ankle “is getting a little bit better, but we still have to play it by ear. I think the bye week [after four games] obviously will be big.”

If Evans can’t play in St. Louis, one of three rookies would likely start – Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss or LaQuan Williams -- none of whom has caught a pass in the NFL yet.

"We've got super-talented guys there that I think are willing and ready to step up and make plays,” Evans said. “So it'll be a great opportunity for them, and I think if it happens, they will be looking forward to it."