Ravens' Ray Lewis not practicing Thursday

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis wasn't at practice during the media viewing portion Thursday, the first day he was eligible to do so.

Lewis is on the injured reserve-designated to return list after tearing his triceps on Oct. 14. A source told Yahoo Sports that Lewis could practice as soon as Thursday. But when the Ravens took the field to prepare for the Steelers, Lewis was absent during the 30 minutes that reporters are allowed to watch. He is at the team facility where he is continuing to rehab his injury.

The earliest Lewis can play in a game is Dec. 16 against Denver.

The bigger concern for the Ravens right now is Dannell Ellerbe missing practice for a second straight day. Ellerbe, who has replaced Lewis in the starting lineup, is dealing with ankle, knee and finger injuries.

It's unknown who would start in Ellerbe's place. Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence that Brendon Ayanbadejo and Josh Bynes could step in and play.