At long last, Lee Evans returns to practice

It had been a month since we'd last seen wide receiver Lee Evans on the Ravens' practice field.

But there Evans was, sporting his No. 83 jersey during the team's afternoon session here in Owings Mills.

Evans is still battling a left ankle injury which has kept him out of the Ravens' last six games, but he says he's made significant progress the last handful of weeks, and got the go-ahead to test it out during today's session.

The eight-year veteran looked to be moving fairly well during wide receiver drills, but reporters don't get to watch the main portion of practice when Evans would really try to dial things up and see how much he was able to do.

"We're going to try and see," Evans said before practice. "We're going to go out and do a little bit today, and see what happens. It's been a while since I've been out there, so hopefully it feels good."

Despite his extended absence, Evans expressed some optimism that he'll be able to suit up Sunday when the Ravens take on the Seahawks.

"I am (optimistic). I am," Evans said. "I think that's one of the things I'm running on right now is optimism and hoping that the process has taken its course hopefully, and we'll be all right."

The problem with returning from an ankle injury, as compared to, say, a shoulder injury, is that Evans can't just judge his progress based on the speed at which he's able to run or how the ankle feels when he's running basic routes.

He needs to get a couple full practices under his belt to determine whether he'll be able to perform at the level he will need to come Sunday.

"You can't just be able to do one thing," Evans said. "It's a dynamic position, so you've got to be able to run, jump, cut, twist, fall and the whole nine. Just because I can run, doesn't mean that I can play the game. That's the bottom line."

Also returning to practice today was linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who has missed the Ravens' last three games with a hamstring injury.

Center Matt Birk was the only player to sit out today's practice, but the 14-year vet likely is just getting a day off.

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