Ngata, McPhee finally back to practicing

Ngata, McPhee finally back to practicing
November 14, 2012, 10:00 pm
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While coach John Harbaugh has been inflating his injury report with every nick and bruise since the league fined the Ravens for violations last month, the one released Wednesday was slightly smaller but still significant.

Three defensive starters missed the 55-20 win against the Oakland Raiders. End Pernell McPhee (thigh) and tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder) didn’t practice going into the Oakland game, but both were limited participants in practice Wednesday. Cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), who was a late scratch against Oakland, didn’t practice.

"He's getting closer," Harbaugh said of McPhee, who has missed the last two games. "We'll see how he does this week."

The Ravens play at the Pittsburgh Steelers in a prime-time game Sunday. Fourteen players were listed for Baltimore, down from 19.

The offensive line has injury issues, too. Right guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) didn’t practice and left guard Bobbie Williams (ankle) was limited. Receivers Jacoby Jones (toe) and Torrey Smith (chest) had limited participation, too, but their injuries aren’t expected to keep them out against Pittsburgh. Jones was listed as having a toe injury last week and returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. Smith, who wasn’t listed on the report last week, had two touchdown catches.

Yanda's ankle has bothered him for a few weeks, but he played 58 snaps, or 91% of the offensive plays, against Oakland.

If Smith can’t go, that means Corey Graham likely would start in the secondary again. Rookie DeAngelo Tyson started on the line in place of Ngata. Tyson, a seventh-round draft pick, was healthy but inactive for the first six games of the season. Backup Arthur Jones filled in for McPhee.

Williams’ injury appears more serious. He left the Raiders game after he re-aggravated a lingering ankle injury. Jah Reid, who missed the first seven games with a calf strain that had nagged him since the preseason, got game action for the second time this season.

Reid played nine offensive snaps in the 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago but that escalated to 50 against Oakland. Williams only was able to stay on the field for 14 plays. He had surgery one year ago after breaking the ankle while with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Safety Ed Reed, who left the Oakland game in the third quarter after what he called a shoulder “stinger,” was a full participant. So was running back Ray Rice (toe), linebacker Courtney Upshaw (shoulder), Bernard Pollard (ribs), safety Sean Considine (knee/chest), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (thumbs) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (ankle).

Reed was replaced by James Ihedigbo on Sunday.

Right tackle Kelechi Osemele was wearing a brace on his right wrist but wasn’t listed on the injury report.

For Pittsburgh, seven players didn't practice Wednesday, including safety Troy Polamalu (calf). He was targeting a return to the field against the Ravens, though coach Mike Tomlin recently said it would be unlikely that he plays.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) fully practiced as did safety Ryan Clark (concussion), who was injured in Monday night's 16-13 win against the Kansas City Chiefs.