Ngata says he'll play Sunday vs. Patriots despite sore left knee

A sore left knee will not prevent Haloti Ngata from playing in the Ravens' game against the New England Patriots Sunday, the defensive tackle said Thursday.

"I'm going to play," he said. "We're just being careful about going out there too early than I need to. So we're just watching it and making sure that I got into the books and make sure that I know everything."

Ngata, who was limited in practice Thursday after not practicing Wednesday, injured the knee in Sunday's 31-17 victory over the Denver Broncos when he got tangled with safety Darcel McBath during a fourth down-and-goal situation from the Broncos' 1-yard line.

Ngata said stiffness in the knee is more problematic than the pain, and he wore a brace on the knee while walking around the locker room. But he cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the brace.

"That's just to make sure that nothing happens," he said. "Just being cautious."

Like Ngata, Josh Wilson returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's session, and the cornerback said he would be available Sunday despite a strained hamstring.

"I'm going to be there to play," he said. "That's the whole reason I'm going to rehab and doing what I have to do."

Wilson, who suffered the injury while surrendering a fourth-quarter touchdown in the team's 31-17 victory over the Denver Broncos this past Sunday, declined to specify the extent of the injury.

"It's straight," he said. "I really don't know. I can't really judge it."

More Ravens on the mend

In addition to Ngata and Wilson, running back Ray Rice (knee) and fullback Le'Ron McClain (shoulder/knee) practiced after missing Wednesday's session. Both Rice and McClain were limited Thursday.

Linebackers Jameel McClain (knee) and Edgar Jones (thigh) were limited for the second consecutive day. Safety Ken Hamlin (ankle) was added to the injury report as being limited.

Although linebacker Prescott Burgess appeared to be absent during the portion of practice open to the media Thursday, he was not listed on the injury report.

Kickoff returner?

Wilson returned three kickoffs for 60 yards against Denver, but it isn't clear whether his strained hamstring will prevent him from returning kickoffs against the Patriots.

"I have no idea," he said. "Right now, it's just making sure that I'm ready for Sunday, and then we'll go from there."

Jalen Parmele, who averaged 23 yards on 12 returns prior to losing his job to Wilson, said he would not need much time to prepare for the role.

"The difference is I've done it, so I feel comfortable either way," he said. "It's not something that I forgot how to do. It's something that I've practiced and focused on. So I'm ready to go at any minute if I'm needed."

Kruger at least week away

Although he returned to practice Thursday for the first time since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 3, Paul Kruger still said he's a few weeks away from playing in a game.

"Probably not very good, but you never know," the defensive end said about the prospect of suiting up against New England. "A miracle might happen, and my leg feels 100 percent. But it's probably unlikely."

Kruger said pain is not the issue. "It's more about just getting it to where it's playable," he said. "Right now, it just doesn't feel like that."

Ayanbadejo's exorcism

Sunday's game is another opportunity for Brendon Ayanbadejo to exorcise some demons. The special teams ace tore the quadriceps muscle in his left leg in the Ravens' 27-21 loss to the Patriots on Oct. 4, 2009, and he has yet to return to the field since then.

Ayanbadejo visited Gillette Stadium when the Ravens defeated New England, 33-14, on Jan. 10 in the AFC Wildcard round, but he said he did not visit the 36-yard line along the sideline where he tackled running back Sammy Morris and got caught in a massive scrum.

"Did I go to the scene of the crime? No, I didn't," Ayanbadejo said. "And I haven't even seen the play. I need to see the play just forensically to see what had happened and make sure that they didn't have a land mine over there. Of course, it's in the back of my mind, that New England is the place where I got hurt, but it wasn't like I had to go back and pay homage because that's where I left a part of myself."

End zone

The team's decision to line up Ngata as a receiving option on offense has drawn some criticism, especially after Ngata sprained his left knee. Ngata said no decision had yet been made about his career on the offensive side of the ball, but defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he had no qualms about Ngata playing both sides. "If him being out there in that situation helped us win, which it did, or we thought it would, then he's out there," Mattison said. … For the Patriots, running back Fred Taylor (toe) did not practice for the second straight day. Quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder) and cornerback Terrence Wheatley (foot) fully participated for the second consecutive day. Safety James Sanders (hamstring) was limited. … With 7,700 career passing yards, quarterback Joe Flacco is 147 yards shy of passing Kyle Boller as the franchise leader. Flacco didn't put too much stock into that achievement. "Hopefully, I can have a lot more passing yards than two-and-a-half years worth," he said Wednesday. "I plan on being here for a while, and hopefully … it doesn't really mean too much at this point." … Rookie outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, who will miss this season after fracturing his skull before training camp, completed a set of individual exercises with assistants Jim Zorn and Al Saunders.

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