|Ravens DE Pernell McPhee, who pressured Patriots QB Tom Brady when the teams met in September, took time off to rest his injured knee and now says he's close to 100 percent. (US Presswire)|
McPhee began the season with a knee injury due to two minor procedures this offseason. He's also been battling a thigh injury that's limited his playing performance.
Now that he's had some time off to recover, McPhee's looking to take the field this Sunday to take on the Steelers.
"I feel like I'm ready, I feel like I'm 100 percent," McPhee said.
During the course of the season, and before the previous three weeks (including the bye), McPhee has had limited rest here and there, but he has never committed an extended amount of time to heal.
In resting, McPhee can now prepare for the season's final seven games at near full strength.
"It helped me out a lot," McPhee said. "It was the first time I went out to practice, yesterday, and I didn't have the knee brace on. I felt very comfortable going out, running the drills, doing one-on-one drills, doing individual drills. I feel pretty good."
For the season, McPhee has 16 tackles and half of a sack. In 2011, McPhee was Baltimore's second leading sack leader with 6.5 in third-down passing situations.
McPhee admitted earlier this year that he was lacking ideal explosion due to the injuries. He now hopes he can regain the speed and power he lost.
"I think the quickness is back because we were out doing drills and coach told me I was moving pretty good," McPhee said. "I think it's coming back."
Role for Chris Johnson? With CB Jimmy Smith out indefinitely with what's now being specified as sports hernia surgery, recently-signed CB Chris Johnson is hoping to have a role in Baltimore's game against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Johnson, a nine-year veteran who last played with Oakland, is fully recovered from a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve late last season.
“Wherever I need to be fitted in," Johnson said when asked what his role could be on Sunday. "They brought me in just to be a part of the puzzle. And as a vet, I'm just coming in to do my job and do it well.”
Johnson may have been a nice find for Baltimore; he said issues with his agent led to him not being signed earlier this season. Ten years ago, Johnson clocked a blazing 4.18 40-yard dash at his Pro Day at Louisville. Though age may keep him from running a time similar to that, he said he still has some speed left in his tank.
"There's really no guys that can run away from me in this league," Johnson said. "I've been like that for going on nine years now, to make sure my speed is where I want it to be every year.”
Game ball for Rosburg: Following Baltimore's 55-20 win over Oakland, the Ravens presented special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg with a game ball, the first time he's ever received one during his coaching career.
Rosburg got the ball because of two scoring touchdowns his special teams units produced. One came on a fake field goal run from punter Sam Koch and the other was on a 105-yard kickoff return from receiver Jacoby Jones.
"It meant a lot to me to really represent our special teams corps players and our coaches -- (assistant special teams coach) Chris Hewitt and (kicking consultant) Randy Brown, and all the guys that we work with on a daily basis," Rosburg said. "It's really a compliment to all those guys. We're the first ones in meetings, the first ones out on the practice fields. And the guys were working really hard and you see the progress that's being made on a daily basis."
Injury report: Jimmy Smith has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh after having a sports hernia procedure performed Thursday morning.
Limited participants in Thursday's practice: McPhee (thigh), Jones (ankle), DT Terrance Cody (arm), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), WR Torrey Smith (chest), LG Bobbie Williams (ankle), S Christian Thompson (thigh) and RG Marshal Yanda (ankle).
Full participants: S Sean Considine (knee/chest), LB Dannell Ellerbe (finger), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder/leg/neck), RB Ray Rice (toe), OLB Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and OLB Courtney Upshaw (shoulder).