Clock ticking on injured Ravens players to see preseason action

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The 2016 season opener against Buffalo is still four weeks away, but the Ravens practicing without a whopping 23 players raised a few eyebrows on Saturday morning.
Of course, the Ravens were less than two days removed from their first preseason game and most of their current injuries aren’t major concerns, but we’re entering the point in the summer when you wonder if a handful of players in the midst of long-term absences will be back in time to appear in the preseason. This is especially true for the five players still on the active physically unable to perform list: wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro.
The clock is ticking.
Head coach John Harbaugh said last week that Suggs was the closest of the players on the PUP list to return to action, but you’d think he would need to begin practicing at some point this week to start getting into football shape if the goal is for the 33-year-old to get some reps in the “dress rehearsal” third preseason game. Saturday marked 11 months since Suggs tore his left Achilles tendon in the 2015 opener in Denver.
Still working his way back to full strength from his own Achilles injury, the 37-year-old Smith appears unlikely to play in the preseason and has expressed little concern about doing so. After undergoing an offseason foot surgery, Dumervil’s status for the preseason also remains unknown despite the Ravens not expressing any worry about his availability for the start of the regular season.
Perriman is the most interesting case after he suffered a partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in June. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews determined at the time that he would not need season-ending ACL reconstruction surgery, but the 2015 first-round pick has practiced so little over the last calendar year and wasn’t able to work with Joe Flacco this spring as the starting quarterback was still rehabbing his surgically-repaired left knee.
Considering he is essentially a rookie without even as much as a complete full-squad practice under his belt in the NFL, the Ravens would like to see Perriman get his feet wet in the preseason in a perfect world — one that assumes his knee is healthy. And if he’s to get some game time with Flacco this summer, the third preseason game would have to be the target with starters likely to sit out the summer finale.
It will be interesting to see how the Ravens handle Taliaferro with four other running backs clearly ahead of him on the depth chart. It might make sense to take advantage of his status by having the 2014 fourth-round pick begin the regular season on the reserve PUP list, which means he would not take a spot on the 53-man roster. Under that scenario, Taliaferro wouldn’t be eligible to be activated until Week 7, but perhaps there would be more clarity at the running back position in terms of both established roles and health at that point.
As for players not on the PUP list who are dealing with injuries, wide receiver Chris Moore (foot) hasn’t practiced since late July and is missing valuable practice time after turning some heads over the first couple days of training camp.
Arguably the most disappointing injury to come out of Thursday’s game was to cornerback Tavon Young, who hurt his left hamstring in the fourth quarter. Harbaugh did not offer a timetable for his return, but the rookie has had a strong summer and was pushing veterans Jerraud Powers and Kyle Arrington, who both struggled at the nickel spot against Carolina. Arrington missed practice on Saturday after being evaluated for a concussion in the second half of the preseason opener.
Other players absent on Saturday included wide receivers Chris Matthews and Michael Campanaro, safeties Kendrick Lewis and Anthony Levine, cornerbacks Sheldon Price and Maurice Canady, linebacker Chris Carter, guard John Urschel, tight ends Crockett Gillmore, Daniel Brown, Maxx Williams, and Dennis Pitta, and defensive linemen Brandon Williams, Carl Davis, and Bronson Kaufusi.
Wide receiver and return specialist Kaelin Clay left Saturday’s practice with a foot issue, according to Harbaugh.