Grubbs back at practice, Birk still sidelined


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after missing his first workout since making his return to action in Pittsburgh last month, Ravens left guard Ben Grubbs returned to the practice field on Thursday afternoon.
Listed on Wednesday’s injury report with a toe injury — presumably the same turf toe injury that sidelined him for six games earlier this season — Grubbs was back at practice as the Ravens worked outside in shells and shorts.
The news was not as promising for center Matt Birk, who missed his second straight practice with a right shoulder injury sustained in the Ravens’ 24-10 win over the Browns on Sunday. Linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Chris Carr (back) were absent from the practice field during the portion of practice open to the media, putting a darker cloud over their chances of returning to action this Sunday.
If Birk is unable to play against Indianapolis, the Ravens will rest easier knowing five-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode would take his place in the starting lineup. Gurode was signed days before the start of the season as an insurance policy for Birk after the 35-year-old veteran underwent arthroscopic knee surgery at the beginning of training camp. After Grubbs suffered a toe injury in the season opener, Gurode made five starts at left guard, a position at which he had never played in his 10-year career.
The referee for Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Indianapolis will be Clete Blakeman.