While Ray Lewis was not out at today's practice during the portion open to the media, the veteran linebacker did walk off the field with his team at the conclusion of the session.
Lewis did not have a boot on his injured foot, and he didn't appear to be limping, either. The 12-time Pro Bowler, who missed yesterday's game because of the injury, later declined an interview request in the locker room.
The short week leading up to the Ravens' Thursday night game against the 49ers will impact Lewis' chances of returning to game action, but it will also impact the rest of his teammates.
Instead of having the normal six days in between games to physically recover and mentally prepare for their next opponent, the Ravens (and the 49ers, for that matter) will only have three and a half days to do so. That will obviously be a major factor for NFL players and coaches who are very regimented in their daily scheduling during a season.
"It is a challenge," head coach John Harbaugh said. "It'd be hard to do this every week. It would be impossible, actually. But I think we can do it in a week. Teams do it. Every now and then they give you a Thursday game and a short week and I think it's kind of exciting. It's a little different. It's more condensed and you have you go to work both as far as taking care of yourself physically and the mental part of it. You pack a lot more information into a lot fewer games."
Instead of taking the night to celebrate yesterday's win over the Bengals, Harbaugh went straight into the office after the game (following a stop at McDonalds, that is) to immediately start preparing for his team's next opponent. From a coach's perspective, every extra bit of scouting and preparation helps.
From a player's perspective, Jarret Johnson said the toughest part about a Thursday game is the physical aspect. During a normal game week, full practices don't begin until Wednesday, giving players two days to get treatment and let their bumps and bruises heal.
This week, the Ravens had to get back on the practice field today, and while they didn't have a full-contact practice, they installed their packages and plays for the San Francisco game and broke down the 49ers' personnel.
"Thursday night games, they're tough," Johnson said. "It really gets you out of your schedule, gets you off your routine. Days where you should be resting or recouping, you have to work. So tomorrow would normally be a workout and treatment type day, and tomorrow's a full work day. Then we turn right around and play on Thursday. The physical side is really tough. That's why the mental side of the game has to be elevated.
"You have to watch more film, you've got to get in the playbook more. Just the way we have to practice, in a walk-through type style ... we'll do some up-tempo type stuff, but not as much as normal. You just really have to lock in mentally."
On top of focusing more on the mental side of things during the week, Johnson said it will be crucial for players to be mentally in the game on Thursday night.
Players will start to feel the short week during the game on Thursday, Johnson said, and he thinks the outcome of the game could very well depend on which team deals with that adversity better.
"Mental toughness (is important) because everyone's going to be sore and tired and all that stuff," Johnson said. "It's the way you approach it. You can use it as an excuse and just lay down, or you can go out and play hard and take advantage of it."