Offensive tackle Jared Gaither says he's still feeling a significant amount of pain in his back, and isn't sure when he'll be able to get back on a football field again.
Gaither went to visit Dr. Robert Watkins out in Los Angeles on Monday, and came out of that consult with more disappointing news.
"I'm not cleared to play," Gaither said. "That's what that is. I can't block at 100 percent yet, so they won't be clearing me. Still have pain, and I still can't have all the movements, so I guess I won't be cleared until I can do all that."
Gaither maintained that he will not need surgery to repair the injury, which is to the thoracic disc in his back.
"Like I said, I don't know what [that entails], but I believe it was the seventh, eighth and ninth [vertebrae] in my back, so obviously it was an injury towards that," Gaither said. "So, I'm working to get it right."
Gaither said there has not yet been a timetable set for his return, but at some point, the Ravens will have to make a decision on whether to put the tackle on Injured Reserve. They can only hold a roster spot for him for so long.
The four-year veteran was expected to be the Ravens' starting right tackle this year, but he injured his back early in training camp and has only taken part in one practice since August 5. That came last Wednesday, when he participated in practice in a limited fashion.
Gaither said it wasn't necessarily that he was feeling up for practice last week, but more that he wanted to test his back out and see how difficult it would be for him to participate in football drills.
"I wouldn't say I was feeling better, I just wanted to see how much pain I could take so I could try to help the team," Gaither said. "That's my overall goal, is to help the team as much as I can. So, with that being said, I wanted to see how much pain I could take to see if I could play with the pain, or just to see how much progress I made.
"I knew what I felt like in the back of my mind, but I wanted to see if I could get out there and play through the pain. But, obviously, it was tremendous enough that I can't."
Gaither hasn't been able to do much in the way of physical activity lately, and says he's been limited to core stabilization drills to try and strengthen the muscles around the injured disc. He says he's still in a lot of pain at this point.
"It's been hurting pretty much straight through," Gaither said. "It's not been going off and then coming back on. Whatever I can take, I'm going to push it to that limit. Obviously, it was kind of painful out there practicing, and I knew I wouldn't have been a help to the team throughout the season and throughout the game playing that way. So, I pulled back, and I just need more time to do rehab."
It's been a frustrating few months for Gaither, who promises to get back on the practice fields as soon as he gets fully healthy.
"I can't wait until that day that I wake up and I'm not in dire pain or anything," Gaither said. "I can't wait. It's been on my mind everyday. Everyday I wake up, I can't wait to play and get back on the field with the guys."