Posted by Andy Benoit
Ryan Clady and Jared Gaither, arguably the NFL’s two most naturally talented offensive tackles, both could be on the field come Week 1 after battling injuries the past several months.
Clady returned to practice Wednesday, marking one of the quickest recoveries from a torn patella tendon that football has ever seen. Also on Wednesday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism about Gaither returning from a back injury by September 13.
There has been some confusion regarding the nature of Gaither’s injury. Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com writes:
On Tuesday Gaither told reporters that a second opinion he got on his back revealed a thoracic disc injury, which causes pain and numbness in the upper back. He didn’t give a timetable for his return, but said he wouldn’t need surgery.
Harbaugh cleared up the diagnoses Wednesday. After being told Gaither had a small tear weeks ago, Harbaugh now understands there’s a lining on the thoracic disc that is either irritated or torn. One doctor said it’s torn and the other says there’s a slight tear. That is what caused Ravens’ trainers to tell Harbaugh that Gaither had back spasms.
Gaither has missed a lot of practice time while transitioning from left tackle to right tackle (he had foot problems earlier in the offseason and lost a significant amount of weight due to an illness early in training camp). However, he should be able to immediately snatch a starting job once fully healthy (especially given that backup Oniel Cousins has had concussion problems as of late).
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