OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are on the verge of welcoming back a pair of three-time Pro Bowl selections for Sunday’s AFC championship game against Kansas City.
Star tight end Mark Andrews (ankle) has officially been activated from injured reserve and does not carry a game status designation while standout cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf) was listed as questionable after being upgraded to full practice participation, a good sign for his availability. Head coach John Harbaugh said he was “confident” Humphrey would play against the Chiefs while acknowledging he couldn’t say that “for sure,” but Andrews is set to see his first game action since suffering a serious left ankle injury in the Nov. 16 win over Cincinnati.
It remains to be seen how much Andrews, 28, will play after undergoing ankle surgery a little over two months ago, but his mere presence makes an explosive offense that much more dangerous on paper as Baltimore aims to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2012 season. To no surprise, superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson expressed excitement about having his favorite pass-catching target and “security blanket” back on the field for the most important home game in the history of the franchise.
“Being out of the game for however many weeks it’s been, I’m definitely internalizing everything. I’m thinking about it, and I’m excited,” said Andrews, who had missed just five games in his career prior to the ankle injury. “I can’t tell you how excited [I am]. This is what I love to do. I love to play football. I love the Ravens. I love this city. I’m going to give them everything I’ve got.”
To make room for Andrews on the 53-man roster, the Ravens waived outside linebacker Jeremiah Moon on Thursday.
Though the Baltimore defense has remained elite despite Humphrey missing a career-high eight games this season, his versatility would provide defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald another valuable chess piece in trying to confuse six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Veteran Ronald Darby started in Humphrey’s place and registered two pass breakups against Houston in the divisional round.
It’s been a frustrating season for Humphrey, who missed the first four games after undergoing foot surgery in mid-August and then sat out an additional four contests because of calf injuries. The 27-year-old defensive back has been sidelined since the Week 17 win over Miami.
“It’s been rough. I’ve been kind of trying to just stay positive through it,” Humphrey said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s definitely not been ideal for me. Honestly, what’s helping me get through it the most is just seeing how the guys are playing on Sundays.”
In addition to Humphrey, the Ravens listed wide receiver Tylan Wallace (knee) and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (knee) as questionable to play against Kansas City. Reserve inside linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips was listed as doubtful.
The Chiefs are in worse shape from an injury standpoint after ruling out two-time All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney with a pectoral injury. Thuney wasn’t able to practice all week and leaves a major void as Kansas City’s interior offensive line tries to slow Ravens defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Michael Pierce. Kansas City also ruled out starting defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (triceps) for a second straight week.
Three other starters — safety Mike Edwards, linebacker Willie Gay, and running back Isiah Pacheco — were listed as questionable for the conference championship game. Pacheco told reporters in Kansas City that he expects to play Sunday despite ankle and toe ailments sidelining him for most of the practice week.
Below is the full injury report for Sunday’s AFC title game:
DOUBTFUL: ILB Del’Shawn Phillips (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Marlon Humphrey (calf), WR Tylan Wallace (knee), CB Rock Ya-Sin (knee)
OUT: WR Skyy Moore (knee), DT Derrick Nnadi (triceps), G Joe Thuney (pectoral), OL Prince Tega Wanogho (quad)
QUESTIONABLE: S Mike Edwards (concussion), LB Willie Gay (neck), RB Isiah Pacheco (ankle/toe), WR Kadarius Toney (hip)