Ray Lewis returns to practice

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis returned to practice Wednesday, which is a step in the right direction for the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year to return for the Dec. 16 game against Denver.

How much work did Lewis do on the practice field? From the looks of a video released by the team's website, Lewis tossed the ball around with teammates and shook a lot of hands. He even did some individual drills, hitting the blocking sled to test the surgically-repaired right arm. The fact that Lewis was able to get on the practice field after no one thought he would be back for the regular season is quite impressive.

Lewis released a statement following practice, but you won't get much information from it:

I’m making progress and will practice some today. But, the story shouldn’t be about me right now. We’re playing the Redskins Sunday, and I am not eligible to play. If I can help prepare my team in some way for that game, I will. When I know I will play in a game, or when I play in game, I will say more then.

Sorry Ray, but you are a story. In many cases, a torn triceps injury will end a player's season. Lewis was on the practice field a little more than seven weeks removed from that injury.

It looks like Lewis hopes to come back for a showdown with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. That game could determine whether the Ravens get the AFC's No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

It's a big story now, and it will be an even bigger story next week.