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As OTAs begin, several Ravens still working their way back to health

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Starting today and continuing over the next three weeks, Ravens’ rookies and veterans will come together for organized team activities. The three day OTAs, which will be held at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills from May 21-23, May 29-31 and June 4-6, will serve as a prelude to the mandatory veteran minicamp, held on June 11-13. The OTAs are voluntary and several Ravens veterans traditionally have skipped them or at least gone to only one or two of the sessions.  There will also be a group of players who aren’t ready to participate in the scaled-down workouts after sustaining injuries last year or had an offseason surgery. Several players mentioned below fit into that category.

Chris Canty, DE: Signed to a three-year, $8 million deal to bolster the Ravens defensive line, Canty missed the first six games for the New York Giants last season after having offseason knee surgery. He then suffered an MCL sprain in December that prevented him from playing in the regular-season finale. His knee didn’t pass the scrutiny of Green Bay Packers’ team doctors who reportedly wouldn’t sign off on his physical after the team hosted Canty on a free-agent visit. The Ravens’ top decision makers voiced no such concern and all signs point to Canty being ready to go.   

Terrence Cody, NT: Cody had hip surgery more than a month after the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said recently that Cody was walking around without crutches and progressing well. However, the expectation at the time of the surgery was that Cody was aiming to be ready for training camp and would likely be unavailable to participate in the OTAs. Training camp will be big for Cody who had a disappointing season last year and could be challenged for his roster spot. The Ravens added several defensive linemen, including nose tackle Brandon Williams, a third-round pick.

Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE: The Ravens drafted the former Notre Dame standout in the sixth round last month, knowing that they were unlikely to get much out of him this year. Lewis-Moore tore the ACL in his right knee only about four months ago in the BCS national championship game. He’s been at the team facility rehabbing the injury. However, he’s expected to start the season either on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list.

Jameel McClain, ILB: McClain is the most experienced member of the Ravens’ middle linebacker corps and a favorite to start alongside rookie second-round pick Arthur Brown. That is, of course, if McClain shows that he has recovered from a significant spinal cord contusion that ended his season last year in early December. McClain has had no restrictions in his workout program and he recently spent some time in California with a specialized trainer. As of early this month, he had yet to be given full medical clearance. Still, McClain recently told my colleague, Aaron Wilson, that “everything is positive on my end.”

Pernell McPhee, DE/OLB:  McPhee, who has dealt with a variety of injuries over his first couple of seasons, had groin surgery following the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. In late February, he was noncommittal
about whether he would be ready to take part in OTAs and training camp and team officials haven’t recently updated his status. The Ravens are hoping to use McPhee at outside linebacker this season behind Terrell Suggs, but they’ll obviously have to wait until he gets healthy before accelerating his transition from defensive end.

Haloti Ngata, DT: The Ravens got a huge scare when their Pro Bowl defensive tackle was forced out of the second half of the Super Bowl with what appeared to be a significant left knee injury. Ngata, however, was ultimately diagnosed with a sprained knee, an injury that wasn’t expected to affect his preparation for the upcoming season. Ngata didn’t attend the voluntary OTAs last year and then showed up at the mandatory minicamp well above his playing weight from a year before. His conditioning will be watched closely heading into the 2013 season as the Ravens’ new-look defense needs Ngata to return to his dominant form. 

Jah Reid, OG/OT: Reid started seven games at left guard this season but was put on injured reserve before the playoffs because of a dislocated toe that ultimately required surgery. By having the surgery when he did, Reid expressed optimism that he’ll be ready to go in time for the OTAs. He has been a fixture at the team facility this offseason, rehabbing the injury. Barring an injury to one of the projected
starters, Reid is expected to compete for one of the top reserve roles along the offensive line.  

Terrell Suggs, OLB: It’s been a quiet offseason for the Ravens’ normally loquacious pass rusher and that qualifies as good news, especially after he tore his Achilles last offseason. Suggs made a miraculous return from the Achilles injury but then tore his biceps in early December. He played through the injury and then opted not to have surgery this offseason, choosing instead to go the rehab route. Harbaugh
and other team officials have expressed hope that a healthier Suggs will return to the form that he showed the previous season when he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.   

Lardarius Webb, CB: Webb, who tore the ACL in his left knee during the Ravens’ victory over the Dallas Cowboys in mid-October, has made nice strides by all accounts and suffered no setbacks. The team’s top cornerback abstained in various interviews to predict when he’ll be able to return to the field. Webb has torn his ACL before so he knows his body well and the Ravens obviously are going to proceed with caution with him in the hope that he’ll be ready at some point during training camp.   

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Baltimore RavensFootballTerrell SuggsSuper BowlBCS National Championship GameGreen Bay Packers
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