Ravens’ Rashod Bateman Suffers Practice Injury, Could Miss Season Opener

Ravens Rashod Bateman

Getty Ravens rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman participates in training camp.

Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman has a soft tissue injury in his leg and will be out for “a number of weeks,” but not months, head coach John Harbaugh told the media on Wednesday, August 11.

Bateman went down after running a slant route against cornerback Marcus Peters in a one-on-one drill, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. He had to be helped to the sidelines by Peters and a trainer, as seen in footage posted by Fox 45 News, but was able to walk to the locker room with a pronounced limp.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported that Bateman suffered a groin injury and was considered week-to-week pending evaluations.

Injuries have decimated the Ravens thus far in the preseason, with injuries affecting more than a dozen players and COVID-19 holding out star quarterback Lamar Jackson until this past weekend. The Ravens did receive good news on the health of cornerback Jimmy Smith, who injured his ankle last week but is only expected to miss one or two weeks, per Zrebiec.

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Wide Receiver Woes to Start Camp

Bateman’s injury is the latest blow to a wide receiver group that has been missing its 2020 snap count leaders at the position in Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and Miles Boykin. Both players are currently hampered by hamstring injuries, leaving the Ravens with only three wideouts with NFL experience: Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche. The team also has fourth-round draft pick Tylan Wallace, as well as a collection of young receivers competing to make the team.

Bateman was listed as the third wide receiver on the Ravens’ first depth chart of the season, which was released yesterday. Watkins is the only fully healthy receiver ahead of him, with Brown close to returning to practice after completing conditioning drills in the past few days.

The Ravens offense has received a boost in the last few days with the returns of star quarterback Lamar Jackson and starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the first two weeks of camp, while Stanley had been out since Week 8 of the 2020 season, when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jackson already seems to have developed a connection with one of his new targets, telling media on Monday that Sammy Watkins “makes my job a lot easier,” per video posted to the Ravens’ Twitter account.

Bateman’s Injury Hinders Hot Start to Camp

Before his injury, Bateman was getting a lot of buzz around the league after a hot start to training camp.

Pro Football Focus named him a dark horse candidate to win 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors due to his NFL-ready route-running and release package.

PFF’s Doug Kyed went even further, saying that Bateman could transform the Ravens’ wide receiving corps with a breakout season.

Kyed wrote:

But the Ravens will be in much better shape this season with Bateman, Brown and Watkins — once Jackson is back, of course — and there’s enthusiasm around the team about the upgrades at the position and how the wide receivers will complement each other, according to a source.

Bateman’s name is also frequently mentioned in lists of sleeper fantasy football prospects, but his injury could scare away some owners if he’s not ready for Week 1. He’ll be looking to make a speedy recovery to rejoin Jackson and the rest of the Ravens’ offense for the regular season.

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