NONE OF INJURED CORNERS ARE PRACTICING
OWINGS MILLS -- Turns out running back Ray Rice wasn't kidding when he blurted out "I'm fine" to a television sideline reporter after being taken to the locker room during the Ravens' game against the Dallas Cowboys Aug. 16.
Rice was on the practice field Aug. 18 for a shorts-and-shells workout as the only injury concern participating during the first preparatory workout for the third preseason game Aug. 23 against Washington.
The other injury concern from the game with Dallas, the bruised chest incurred by cornerback Jimmy Smith, forced the fourth-year corner to miss practice Aug. 18.
Smith was injured after landing hard on his back while trying to break up a sideline pass for Cowboys marquee receiver Dez Bryant. Later, Bryant would score a touchdown by outleaping Smith's replacement, Dominique Franks.
The Ravens' cornerback depth is being stretched, with safeties Anthony Levine and Terrence Brooks playing corner to help out. In fact, 30 of the 44 snaps taken by Brooks saw him covering slot receivers.
Other players missing from practice -- conducted under overcast skies in the unseasonably cool conditions that marked training camp -- included those that have missed a good number of recent practices.
That group includes cornerbacks Asa Jackson (ankle) and Lardarius Webb (back), guard Will Rackley (head), tight end Owen Daniels (legs), and defensive linemen Kapron Lewis-Moore (Achilles) and Brent Urban (knee).
A new practice absence was that of undrafted rookie tackle Brett Van Sloten, who was not on the field for unknown reasons. Van Sloten is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound product of the University of Iowa, alma mater of multi-Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.
Lewis-Moore and Urban will likely be placed on season-ending injured reserve once the team cuts down to 75 players Aug. 26. At that point, they won't count against the roster limit.
Still on the Physically Unable to Perform list is nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery).
If Cody is still on PUP when the season begins, he will miss the first six weeks. Once activated, the team will have a 21-day period to decide whether to activate him, release him or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Rice played three of 11 first-team snaps in the preseason opener, gaining 17 yards and helping to set up Bernard Pierce's touchdown in the 23-3 win against San Francisco Aug. 7.
On Aug. 16, Rice played three of the 31 snaps taken by quarterback Joe Flacco during the opening two quarters of the Ravens' 37-30 preseason win against the Cowboys.
The 2008 second-round pick carried the ball twice for 21 yards, including an 18-yard burst over left guard Kelechi Osemele into Cowboys territory.
The run set up Justin Tucker's 40-yard field goal, the first offensive points of the evening.
Rice would have played more, but the shoulder injury soon followed. He ran into the locker room unassisted before having the X-ray performed at A&T Stadium in Dallas.
Joe Platania is in his 21st season covering professional football.