-- Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was finally back on the practice field on Wednesday afternoon, his familiar No. 31 jersey stretched tight across his pads. There were hints of his explosiveness and quickness as well as he participated in his first full practice in nearly nine months.

Lewis was greeted with cheers and applause from fans when he came onto the field at McDaniel College. He took part in all portions of the two-hour session, cutting hard during individual work. He had one carry during 11-on-11 drills, up the middle untouched, and caught a pass in 7-on-7.

"He looked fresh, which you'd expect after not being here for the first week," Coach Brian Billick said. "We'll continue to push him through it and put him through his paces and see if we can get him through that next level of conditioning."

The Ravens are slowly working in Lewis, who will not play on Saturday when the Ravens travel to Atlanta for their preseason opener. He had surgery on his right ankle in January, and he missed all of the offseason team workouts because of his incarceration, first at a federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., and then at a halfway house in Atlanta.

"I've always tried to take a pace with him that will get him ready for the first game of the season," running backs coach Matt Simon said. The Ravens' first game is Sept. 11 against Indianapolis. "Right now, I want to get him back in the flow of the tempo of the game itself, timing with his teammates. Then we're going to go through a period of time where I'm going to try to exhaust him; that'll be a week from now, where I'm going to try to run his legs off from under him."

Ravens Notes: Linebacker Adalius Thomas, who hyperextended his knee on Tuesday, will not play against Atlanta, but he is not expected to be sidelined for long. Thomas, who is one of Baltimore's most versatile players, was walking without a limp and said he was hopeful he could start running on Thursday.

"Obviously we dodged a major bullet there," Billick said. "He seems to be doing fine."

Jarret Johnson, a third-year player out of Alabama, will take Thomas's role as strong-side linebacker. . . .

Billick has been giving some of the veteran players an occasional day off, and Wednesday was linebacker Ray Lewis's turn. Cornerback Chris McAlister was given the day off on Tuesday. . . .

The Ravens waived wide receiver-kick returner Derek Abney. Baltimore drafted Abney in the seventh round in 2004, but he spent the entire season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Ravens Coach Brian Billick shows a play to his offense, which was second-to-last in the NFL last year.