By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
2:13 PM EDT, September 5, 2012
After aggravating his strained right shoulder during the Ravens preseason finale, rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw declared that he's ready to play in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Most definitely, I feel great," said Upshaw, the Ravens' second-round draft pick from Alabama. "The treatment has been well."
Upshaw first hurt his shoulder during a training camp collision and missed a week of practice and the Ravens' preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
"I just tweaked the previous injury I had at the beginning of training camp," Upshaw said. "It's doing fine now."
Upshaw had a relatively quiet preseason on the field, recording just one sack. He has been running with the second-team defense behind Albert McClellan.
"The shoulder was kind of giving me problems, but I don't hold that to the way I played," Upshaw said. "The ups and downs for me just lead back to me competing."
Upshaw added that he's down to 271 pounds after reporting to camp at slightly over 280 pounds and not passing the conditioning test on the first try.
"It's been a long time coming," Upshaw said. "I look skinny, right? I knew that's why they wanted me to lose the weight so I'll be well-conditioned when I'm out there in the games. I definitely feel great."
Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda said he's completely recovered from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee suffered during a training camp practice when outside linebacker Chavis Williams rolled into him.
"I feel great, I'm 100 percent, the knee's good," Yanda said. "It was loose for a while, but it's definitely tightened back up. I just wear the brace and tape it up as a precaution. It was loose, so I wasn't going to fight through it during the preseason and make it worse. We were just going to let it heal all the way, and that's what it's done."
Yanda didn't require surgery for the injury, emphasizing that he could have played if it hadn't been the preseason.
"They heal naturally," Yanda said. "You try to keep it as tight as possible and let it heal. If it was the regular season and I had to play, I could have played. We wanted to give it time to settle down and let it heal."
Yanda gritted it out to play against the Bengals in the regular-season finale last season despite undergoing compartment syndrome surgery on his calf the week before the game and also dealing with bruised ribs.
Now, he's much healthier.
"No doubt, you always want to start the season healthy," Yanda said. "It's a long year, and I'm going to do that. It's great. I'll be ready to roll and I'll be flying around."
Meanwhile, tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta both characterized their status for Monday night as game-time decisions.
Dickson was sidelined for the past month with a sprained right shoulder and Pitta had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand.
"We just prepare ourselves each day and we hope to play," Pitta said. "Obviously, we don’t know at this point. We’ll see how it feels in the next few days. We’re doing everything we can to prepare ourselves to play, obviously, because we want to be out there to help our team. ... Hopefully, it will feel good come gameday."
Both of the Ravens' top two tight ends have been practicing, primarily running routes and catching pases, but haven't been involved in full-contact work.
"We'll see by Monday night if I'm able to go or not," Dickson said. "If it was up to me, I'd be out there. I feel pretty good. The trainers and the coaches are going to watch me and if I'm looking good, I'll play.
"My philosophy is make sure I can protect myself and make sure I can contribute to the team and not hurt the team team. The coaches trust me. If they say I'm able to go, I think they'll play me. If not, they'll make sure that I'm 100 percent."
Veteran safety Sean Considine said he's feeling much better after sustaining two concussions during the preseason and expects to be ready for the first game.
However, he hasn't been cleared for contact yet or taken a baseline neurological test.
"I'm definitely coming around a lot," Considine said. "Concussions are a tricky little deal. Sometimes, they take more time than you would hope, but they come around and now I feel really good."
Defensive end Pernell McPhee said his surgically repaired right knee has improved a lot since having arthroscopic surgery in the spring.
"I feel pretty good about my knee, about everything," McPhee said. "I'm 100 percent and ready to compete."
Cornerback Jimmy Smith said he's no longer bothered by the back spasms that slowed him down earlier during the preseason.
"My back feels absolutely fine," Smith said.
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who's out indefinitely after undergoing surgery in May on his partially torn right Achilles tendon, declined to give an update on his recovery.
"I'm not talking until I'm playing," Suggs said as he exited the locker room.
Suggs is on the reserve physically unable to perform list, so he's out for at least the first six games.
Because of the severity of the injury, any contribution from Suggs late in the season would be regarded as a bonus by the Ravens.