Gaither Could Be Back By Week 1

Harbaugh is being told Gaither will be a few weeks while Cousins is trying for Saturday.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated Wednesday that he’s encouraged with the way Jared Gaither is dealing with his back injury and that the Ravens’ right tackle could still return in a few weeks – perhaps in time for the Sept. 13 regular season opener.

“That’s what I’ve been told. We’ll just have to see how it goes,” Harbaugh said. “I know one thing, he’s working really hard. He gets treatment all day long, he’s working very hard on his lower body lifting, he’s working hard on his cardiovascular. I think Jared’s doing everything he can to get himself back.”

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.

“[Coaches and players] all do the best we can to describe it, but we’re not doing medical examinations,” Harbaugh said. “So until it settles down, he just can’t get out there, because he can’t get in position and all that to do it.”

The Ravens have contingency plans if Gaither isn’t ready in time to face the New York Jets. They start with Oniel Cousins, but he’s been sidelined with a concussion and did not play against the Redskins last Saturday.

Cousins, who has been dealing with migraines, said he’s trying to get back for Saturday’s game against the New York Giants, a game in which he would get valuable reps with the first team.

“I’m feeling better and better every day,” Cousins said. “Hopefully I can be ready to go this Saturday. If not, I’ll be ready for our next game. I’m just going to continue to do my best to get my brain healthy so I can go back out there and focus and do what I do best.”

If Cousins can’t play, five-year veteran Tony Moll will likely be called on to start again. The former starter with the Green Bay Packers did an admirable job keeping starter Joe Flacco and backup Marc Bulger clean versus Washington. Baltimore didn’t surrender a sack until the fourth quarter.

“When guys that aren’t healthy now come back that becomes a big plus for us,” Harbaugh said.

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