Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh provided injury updates on several players on Monday, with some players returning to practice and others facing setbacks on their road to recovery.
“Our hearts go out to him,” said Harbaugh, who expressed his “full confidence in the rest of the running backs,” but didn’t rule out adding a free agent at the position if the team found a player they liked.
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Harbaugh also announced updates on several other injuries, with some players nearing their return and others taking longer to return to the field.
Marquise Brown, Trace McSorley Return to Practice
Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown practiced for the first time in a month after he suffered a hamstring injury at the end of July. Brown had steadily worked his way back to full health, participating in conditioning drills for a few weeks before rejoining the team.
“We’ll see how he does and how he looks, and he’s excited,” said Harbaugh of the third-year wide receiver. The Ravens cut three wide receivers today as part of their first roster moves as they approach Tuesday’s 53-man roster deadline.
With two weeks before the Ravens’ regular season debut against the Las Vegas Raiders, the former Oklahoma Sooner should be ready to start in Week 1.
Harbaugh also announced that Trace McSorley returned to practice after recovering from a back injury he suffered before the Ravens’ first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. In his absence, Tyler Huntley stepped up and seized the backup quarterback job in Baltimore, likely relegating McSorley to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Jimmy Smith, Nick Boyle Not Ready to Return
Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith will not return to practice this week, Harbaugh said, telling media that Smith’s ankle sprain, suffered on August 6, “turned out to be a little more serious than initially thought.”
“He’ll be back, if not next week, then very early in the season,” said Harbaugh, who is “very hopeful” that Smith will be back with the team before the start of the regular season.
With a lot of talented depth in their secondary, the Ravens may opt to place Smith on injured reserve and allow him to fully recuperate before he sees the field. He’d be eligible to play in Week 4 against the Denver Broncos. He’d be placed on short-term IR after the deadline on Tuesday, opening up a temporary spot for another DB on the roster.
If the Ravens go that route, they’ll likely have a handshake deal in place with veteran Anthony Levine, who has simply been outplayed by younger, more talented defensive backs this preseason.
Levine is expected to be cut, as are Geno Stone and Nigel Warrior, but Stone and Warrior would have to clear waivers before the Ravens could re-sign them. Stone had two interceptions against the Saints on August 14 and Warrior made open-field tackles through all three preseason games, making them potential waiver targets for other teams.
When asked for an updated on tight end Nick Boyle, Harbaugh responded, “Nick is getting close, but he’s not ready to play yet. I don’t anticipate him ready for the first game, but I do anticipate him being ready early in the season.”
Boyle did take one step closer to seeing the field after being activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Monday, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
The Ravens could handle Boyle, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last November, similarly to Smith. His placement on the short-term IR could lead to a return to either rookie Ben Mason or veteran Eric Tomlinson, both of whom could be cut on Tuesday. Mason would have to clear waivers, but Tomlinson could have a handshake deal to return as soon as Boyle is moved to the IR.
The Ravens will be hoping that their physical cornerback and powerful blocking tight end will return as soon as possible as they push for a Super Bowl this season.