Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-05-15

For a banged-up receiver group, the biggest concern for the Ravens is Derrick Mason.

The only dependable receiver on the team, Mason could be sidelined for the start of training camp but remains optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the regular season.

Mason, who has led the Ravens in catches for three of his four seasons here, had surgery to repair his scapula and the labrum in his left shoulder in February.

"I guarantee I'll be ready by the first game, that's all I can say," said Mason, who was limited on the first day of the Ravens' mandatory minicamp and sat out the final two days. "Everything else, we'll play it by ear."

Asked if he would be ready for training camp in late July, he said, "Don't know. I really don't. All I can say for certain -- well, not even for certain -- if everything continues to progress the way it has been, I'll be ready for the first game."

Mason knew he injured his labrum in the Nov. 9 game at Houston. He continued to play the rest of the season, remaining the top target for quarterback Joe Flacco.

After the season, Mason said he knew he would need surgery when x-rays revealed damage to his scapula and labrum.

"It turned out to be more than we anticipated," Mason said. "But great doctors find a way to mend you back."

Mason isn't the only Ravens wide receiver who is nursing an injury. Their other top wideouts -- Mark Clayton (undisclosed) and Demetrius Williams (ankle) -- were all limited throughout minicamp.

The Ravens are looking to improve their wide receiver group. After not signing one in free agency or drafting one, Baltimore held tryouts during minicamp.

While the coaches didn't signal a winner, Kelley Washington appeared to have the best showing.

Washington, a free agent who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots, stood out on the final day of minicamp, diving to make one catch and pulling in a nice throw from Troy Smith for a touchdown.

He punctuated the score with a shimmying dance in the end zone.

"I was able to make some good plays and some bad plays," Washington said. "But the thing I wanted to focus on was the individual drills. I wanted to show them that I could get in and out of routes and catch the ball. There's only so many things you can do in five practices."

Now, the Ravens have to make a decision whether to sign Washington, Jerry Porter or Tab Perry over the next few days. Washington has received a contract for the veteran minimum from the Washington Redskins.

"To be fair, we would like to sign at least one guy," coach John Harbaugh said. "But it depends on their situation and what else they have going on. It's just hard to predict right now. But we liked all three guys."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 15, 2009