Ravens center Matt Birk missed a sixth straight practice on Saturday because of back spasms, making it more likely that he will be on the sideline when the Ravens kick off the preseason on Thursday against the Falcons.
It’s the latest in a series of health issues for the 36-year-old, who missed part of spring workouts after having surgery to repair varicose veins in his legs. He’s had knee troubles in the last two seasons, but Birk has never missed a game since coming to Baltimore. Coach John Harbaugh sounded like he wanted to keep it that way when he all but ruled out Birk for the game.
“Matt is resting,” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. “He had some back spasms, too. It’s probably both me and Matt. Matt has had the back spasms, but I am going to probably slow him down a little bit more, especially this week, and then maybe next week after the game, we will get him back a little bit more.”
On Saturday, Birk expressed hope that he’d be able to play but it seems hard to believe that the team would find it necessary to play him for a handful of plays when he’s been unable to get on the field at camp. It’s much more important to make sure that Birk is ready to answer the bell for the regular season, especially since rookie Gino Gradkowski could use the extra work that will come his way against the Falcons.