Calf strain leaves Ravens defensive end Campbell’s short-term status unclear

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The Week 10 status of Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell is in doubt due to a calf strain sustained early in Sunday’s win at Indianapolis.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection injured his lower left leg on the third play of the game and didn’t return as defensive coordinator Wink Martindale leaned harder on fellow veteran Derek Wolfe, who played in a season-high 75 percent of Baltimore’s defensive snaps in the 24-10 victory. Following the game, head coach John Harbaugh said the injury was “not serious” while acknowledging the possibility of Campbell missing some time.

An NFL Network report earlier in the day indicated the 34-year-old Campbell would likely miss “multiple weeks,” and calf strains have a reputation for sometimes healing slowly. Harbaugh offered no further clarity during his Monday video call with local reporters.

“The same as I said last night. It’s not a season-ender, major injury, or anything like that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a calf strain. So, we’ll see where that goes.”

The timing of Campbell’s potential absence isn’t ideal with the Ravens facing top 10 rushing attacks in their next two games. Campbell also leads Baltimore with four sacks this season.

The good news for the Ravens defense is the anticipated return of All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is expected to come off the reserve-COVID-19 list later this week. The protocol called for Humphrey to isolate for 10 days from the time he tested positive for the virus last Monday, which would leave him eligible to return in plenty of time for the Sunday night trip to New England.

Humphrey’s return will be met with even greater enthusiasm after the Ravens lost another cornerback on Sunday with undrafted rookie Khalil Dorsey sustaining a dislocated shoulder that’s expected to sideline him for “a couple weeks,” according to Harbaugh. Third-year cornerback Anthony Averett was placed on injured reserve with a multi-week shoulder injury of his own last month while the Ravens lost cornerbacks Tavon Young and Iman Marshall to season-ending knee injuries earlier this year.

Once Humphrey is activated, the Ravens will have four healthy cornerbacks on their 53-man roster, a group that also includes Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, and Terrell Bonds. Baltimore currently has veteran cornerback Nate Hairston on its 16-player practice squad, a talent pool the Ravens have used extensively in 2020.

“I would be hopeful that some of these rules carry over past this year,” said Harbaugh in reference to the expanded practice squad. “I think they’ve really helped teams put a good team on the field with guys who have actually been on your team and who are at least trained up — guys like [rookie safety] Geno Stone — who haven’t played but have practiced with us all along. They know what to do, [and] then you give them a shot and see how they do.

“It’s been a plus for us. It’s been definitely a challenge, but the same challenge everybody’s facing this year.”

Harbaugh confirmed the finger injury that sidelined veteran inside linebacker L.J. Fort for Week 9 isn’t “a long-term thing” while praising the play of rookies Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison as well as third-year linebacker Chris Board. Against the Colts, Harrison played 33 defensive snaps while Board saw 35, career highs for both players.

Former three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant played only two snaps and wasn’t targeted in his first NFL game since the end of the 2017 season before reverting to the practice squad on Monday. Harbaugh said the Ravens thought Bryant “was ready enough to do it,” but he didn’t want to make too much of the roster decision or the former Dallas Cowboy’s lack of playing time.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be a lot of reps,” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t know how many it would be exactly, but we’ll just see going forward how it plays out. It’s really not something that I think we need to advertise. We’ll just see where it goes.”

The Ravens will have the option of again elevating Bryant from the practice squad to play against the Patriots.