Ed Reed to start practicing Wednesday

OWINGS MILLS - The Baltimore Ravens' stingy defense is about to get even stronger.

Star free safety Ed Reed is going to start practicing Wednesday after spending the first six weeks of the regular season on the physical unable to perform list following offseason hip surgery. This is the first week that he's eligible to be activated.

Although Reed is not a lock to play in Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has displayed good mobility in drills while working on the side at practices.

It's unclear if Reed will start or see limited action, and Harbaugh said his status is up in the air.

"We'll just see how it goes," Harbaugh said. "I think it's going to be something that we're going to have to figure out. I know he's worked really hard, and when you look at him, he looks very fit.

"But the hip is the issue. How is the hip going to hold up with the football-related stuff? We'll have to see."

The Ravens rank third in pass defense.

They have intercepted three passes in six games.

With Reed's impactful presence in the secondary, the Ravens could become more opportunistic on defense and more aggressive with blitz packages.

"It's only going to get better with Ed Reed back there," Harbaugh said. "He's going to add a dynamic that is going to be a problem for offenses. You never know where he's at in coverage. He sees things that other guys don't see."

The Ravens will have to create a roster spot for Reed as well as three-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, who's also scheduled to practice this week after being on the PUP list following a torn quadriceps tendon suffered last year.

The Ravens can wait as long as 4 p.m. Saturday before making a roster move, either by cutting a player or placing them on injured reserve.

The Ravens could possibly place offensive tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve.

Gaither is dealing with a thoracic disc injury suffered during the first week of training camp and has practiced only once since Aug. 5.

"I asked him how he's feeling and he said it's unchanged through the weekend," Harbaugh said. "So, that's going to be part of the equation."

Harbaugh acknowledged that Gaither is a potential candidate for injured reserve. The back just isn't improving.

"I don't know the likelihood of anybody right now," Harbaugh said. "I haven't thought about percentages. I'm looking forward to getting those guys back and not looking forward to losing anybody. That's the tough dilemma of it."

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