Harbaugh offers no timetable on Perriman's return


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It’s been four weeks since rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman injured his knee on the first day of training camp.
The Ravens and their fans are still wondering when the first-round pick will be back on the field with the season opener just over two weeks away.
“I’m asking, too. It’s just a slower healing than they expected,” head coach John Harbaugh said on Thursday. “I really don’t have a timetable right now. That’s really all I have to say on that.”
Perriman injured his knee making a diving catch on July 30, missing the final 20 minutes of the first full-squad practice. At the time, Harbaugh described the ailment as a bruise and estimated the 6-foot-2 receiver would return in a day or two before eventually labeling it a sprain a few days later. A magnetic resonance imaging exam came back “normal” on Aug. 17, but the recovery process has been slow as the organization has remained tight-lipped about his condition.
It’s appearing more and more likely that Perriman will miss the entire preseason as the questions now begin to turn toward his status for the start of the regular season in Denver on Sept. 13. It’s fair to assume that Perriman’s initial impact could be limited as he tries to play catch-up when he eventually does return to the practice field.
“He’s going to have to get back and get into shape, because it’s not like he’s just been hurt,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He’s been missing a ton of time out there running with pads on, getting into that football shape. It is up to him to get back out there and try to do that as quickly as possible.
“I think when you’re dealing with guys that are pretty talented, it doesn’t take a ton of time to get in sync with each other. But, obviously, you’d like to have as much time as possible.”
Drafted with the 26th overall pick in this spring’s draft to replace speedy wideout Torrey Smith, Perriman brings a rare combination of speed and size that the rest of the receiving corps lacks. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound target’s absence leaves the Baltimore offense without a clear threat in the vertical passing game as the 36-year-old Steve Smith and younger options Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown all fit the profile of possession receivers.
Flacco said he felt good about the rapport he was building with Perriman during spring workouts, but he kept the injury in proper perspective, understanding the rookie’s speed won’t be fully utilized if he’s trying to play at less than 100 percent.
In his final season at Central Florida, Perriman caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 20.9 yards per reception.
“You have to deal with injuries, and I think he’s doing a great job dealing with his and trying to get back out here,” Flacco said. “But it takes time. I wish we had him out [on the field]. I think he’s an awesome talent and he’s going to help us out a lot, but he’s not going to help us out if he can’t run. We’ve got to get him out here, and when he does get out here, I think we’ll be able to rely on him.”