When Matt Birk had surgery to clean up the bursa sac in his left knee earlier this month, the Ravens said that their starting center would be out 3-4 weeks, but that he was expected to be back in time to play Week 1 against the Steelers.
It's now been nearly three weeks since Birk's surgery, but the 35-year-old center has not yet returned to practice.
"He's progressing," head coach John Harbaugh said today. "It was supposed to be 3-4 weeks before he'd be moving around pretty well, and now he's starting to walk a little bit. I'm anxious. I want to see him out here sooner rather than later, but it's not something that we really control."
I saw Birk walking around the Ravens' facility today, and the center had a sleeve covering his repaired knee. He didn't appear to be walking with much of a limp, but walking down a hallway doesn't exactly constitute strenuous physical activity.
With Birk out, Bryan Mattison has been serving as the Ravens' first-string center.
Mattison, who was listed as a defensive lineman on the Ravens' roster as recently as two years ago, has actually performed admirably in Birk's stead, but the thought of him lining up against Pittsburgh Week 1 might not be one that will help Joe Flacco sleep well at night.
Then again, the thought of an 85 percent healthy Birk lining up against the Steelers probably won't help him get much shut-eye, either.