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Minicamp analysis: Ravens hope for healthy training camp

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens starting center Jeremy Zuttah returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday during the final day of the team’s minicamp.

It was a positive sign for Zuttah as he continues to rehabilitate a surgically repaired hip. Zuttah took part in individual drills after undergoing surgery this offseason to clean up bone spurs.

Zuttah dealt with the hip injury throughout last season, with the bone spurs affecting the hip joint every time he got into his blocking stance. Despite the injury, Zuttah missed just one offensive snap last season as the Ravens finished 12th in total offense and allowed just 19 sacks after giving up 48 sacks the previous season.

Meanwhile, right offensive tackle Rick Wagner remains sidelined and has been unable to practice after undergoing surgery in December to repair a Lisfranc foot sprain suffered against the Houston Texans.

“Yeah, we do feel optimistic,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the outlook for Zuttah and Wagner for training camp. “I can’t say for sure because they’re going to have to get cleared from a physical, but Jeremy goes through all the non full-speed stuff and he looked good. It seems like they’re on schedule, both of those guys, so we’ll see.”

The Ravens avoided any major injuries to key players this spring. Undrafted rookie cornerback Julian Wilson broke his leg and is out for the season after being placed on injured reserve. Wide receivers Michael Campanaro (strained quadriceps) and Aldrick Robinson (sprained MCL) are out until training camp.

“Yes, good fortune,” Harbaugh said. “We feel fortunate every day when you’re out here and you feel fortunate to be around the kind of players we’re around.”

Rookie tight end Maxx Williams, a second-round draft pick competing with Crockett Gillmore for the starting job, didn’t finish practice Wednesday. The injury is regarded as minor.

“Maxx tweaked something,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think it’s serious.”

–The Ravens finalized their travel plans for the fall, deciding to stay on the west coast following a pair of road games.

Harbaugh said he consulted with experts and players before concluding it was in the best interest of the team to remain out west rather than travel back and forth to the east coast.

“We spent a little bit of time with some of the science on it, but really what it came down to was a gut decision and talking to the players,” Harbaugh said. “We decided to stay out there the first week like we said and also the second trip we’re out there.”

The Ravens’ season opener is against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13. Following that game, the Ravens will fly to California and practice that week in the San Jose area before playing the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 20.

The Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 18. Following that game, the Ravens will fly to Arizona and will train in Phoenix prior to playing the Arizona Cardinals in an Oct. 26 Monday night game.

“I feel good about it,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “Us as players, we’re part of that communication. John asks us and looks for input. I’m one of the guys directly involved in making that decision, so I’m happy about it. I think it’s going to be a good thing for us.”

–Wide receiver Jeremy Butler, a former undrafted free agent from Tennessee-Martin who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury last year, drew heavy praise from his teammates and the coaching staff.

“Jeremy Butler, he might have had 1,500 yards in a three-day minicamp,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He was incredible. He caught the ball extremely well.

“He’s just a big, strong body and catches the ball really well. It’s exactly what he showed last year in training camp, I thought, and he’s just coming out here and doing more of that.”


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