Ravens' Reed sits out practice with neck injury; Birk returns

Baltimore RavensPro Bowl free safety Ed Reed missed practice Thursday due to a neck injury, as the team prepares for its Week 17 encounter with the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Reed was not listed on the team's Wednesday injury report, and the Ravens did not clarify if the injury is related to the nerve impingement he's endured for two seasons.

Reed, in his ninth season, up his career interceptions to 52 by picking off rookie Colt McCoy twice in last Sunday's 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, as the Ravens (11-4) clinched a postseason berth for the third straight season and stayed tied atop the AFC North.

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer leads the list of those keeping tabs on Reed's status.

"He's kind of a wild card where you really got to know where he is and have a good feel for him as the game goes on and what he's trying to do in that game plan," Palmer told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday. "So it is a little bit different with Ed in there, but it's still a really good defense without him."

The Sun reported that wide receiver Derrick Mason (ankle, stomach) and tight ends Todd Heap (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (concussion) were full participants in Thursday's practice. Center Matt Birk (calf) also returned after sitting out Wednesday's practice.

Ravens linebackers Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and Prescott Burgess (illness) and safety Tom Zbikowski (bulging disc in back) missed their second straight practice Thursday. Kick returner/wide receiver David Reed (wrist, concussion) has been limited in practice all week.

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