I mentioned recently that cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are both making progress in their rehab from season-ending knee injuries suffered last year.
Head coach John Harbaugh has said that both corners are ahead of schedule, and Dr. James Andrews confirmed as much during examinations with Washington and Webb last week.
Well, those two aren't alone; one other defensive back is also healing quicker than the Ravens had expected.
Just six months after breaking his right ankle and suffering other damage to his lower right leg, safety Haruki Nakamura was back at practice this week participating in full team drills.
Prior to Monday, Nakamura had mostly spent the last few minicamps on the sidelines, watching practice with his jersey on and helmet nearby. This week, he finally got to strap on the helmet and get into some drills with the second and third team defense.
"I tell you what, it's a good feeling to get back out there," he said. "I started last week with just a couple plays here and there and the coaches felt I was doing well enough and I felt physically well enough to take more steps.
"It's a great improvement. I've been really focused on getting back and getting healthy. This is just one of those steps you have to take to get better."
The gruesome injury, which occurred on the opening kickoff in Cleveland (with a number of Nakamura's family members and friends in attendance), left the then-23-year-old wondering about his football future.
"An injury like that, with where I was mentally, you never know if you can come back from something like that," Nakamura said. "I was really just focused on doing the things that helped me get here through my career. It's really helped out a lot."
The former sixth-round pick back in 2008 has developed into a key special teams performer, and had he not gotten injured last season, he would have been the choice to replace Ed Reed late in the year instead of Tom Zbikowski.
Nakamura has worked tirelessly since suffering the injury, estimating that he's only taken a week and a half to two weeks away from his rehab since mid-November.
The work hasn't gone unnoticed. Head coach John Harbaugh cracked a big smile when asked this week about Nakamura's return.
"Very exciting," Harbaugh said. "He's way ahead of schedule. He pushes himself out here every day and now he's doing almost everything right now, so he's doing well."