Four of the six starters who did not practice Wednesday were absent from the portion of practice open to the media Thursday. Free safety Ed Reed (strained hip/foot), linebacker Jarret Johnson (knee/back), wide receiver Mark Clayton (right hamstring) and left tackle Jared Gaither (lower back stiffness/foot) were missing as was linebacker Terrell Suggs, who was limited Wednesday by a sprained ligament in his right knee.
Wide receiver Kelley Washington (ankle) and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (back) were also absent for the second consecutive day.
The good news was that defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle) and center Matt Birk (neck) returned after sitting out Wednesday. And tight end L.j. Smith (sprained left ankle), safety K.J. Gerard (thigh) returned although it appeared that both players took part in just individual drills and some running on the sideline.
Demetrius Williams joined Derrick Mason (finger) on the first offense, and Oniel Cousins lined up at right tackle with Michael Oher in Gaither’s usual position.