OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens officially ruled out star quarterback Lamar Jackson for Sunday night’s wild-card showdown in Cincinnati, marking his sixth straight missed game.
Of course, the move was a formality less than 24 hours after the 2019 NFL MVP posted an update on his injured left knee that confirmed a PCL sprain. Jackson said his left knee “remains unstable” as he continues to deal with inflammation, giving no indication that a return was imminent even if Baltimore is able to upset the Bengals and advance to next weekend’s divisional round. Jackson hasn’t played or practiced since hurting his knee on the final play of the first quarter in the win over Denver on Dec. 4.
Head coach John Harbaugh said he wasn’t aware that Jackson was going to post the update on his verified Twitter account — the official team website made no mention of it until after Friday’s media availability — and hasn’t “paid much attention to it.” Harbaugh was then asked about the perceived contrast between the team’s initial optimism about a return timetable and the quarterback’s description of the injury and his health nearly six weeks later.
“You get asked questions about injuries all the time — and I understand it because it’s important — and you don’t always know,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes, you’re hopeful it will be quicker. I know I’m always hopeful that guys get back quicker [and] that it’s the front end of any kind of a prediction. Sometimes, it goes the other way, and it’s longer and you’re disappointed. That’s why it’s really tough to say.”
Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley threw in practice for a second straight day and was officially listed as questionable to play on Sunday night. Harbaugh said he’s “hopeful” about his availability, but he was noncommittal even after Huntley was able to log a full practice on Friday.
Asked if he had been told whether he’ll be starting against the Bengals, Huntley said it’s “all game-time decisions” this week, but he estimated that his right shoulder is at least 90% after being able to rest it last week.
“We’re pushing. We’re up there,” Huntley said. “We practiced today, and we’re just seeing how we’re going to feel coming into these next couple days.”
If Huntley doesn’t make his first career playoff start, rookie Anthony Brown would go against the Bengals for a second straight week. The undrafted free agent out of Oregon went 19-for-44 for 286 yards and two interceptions and also lost a fumble in his first NFL start, which resulted in the 27-16 loss in Cincinnati.
In better news for Baltimore, running back Gus Edwards practiced fully and cleared concussion protocol on Friday. He didn’t carry a game status designation on the final injury report and will play after exiting last week’s game in the first half.
“I feel great. I feel great. I’m motivated, energized, and just ready to prove a point,” said Edwards, who was then asked what that point was. “We’re still in it. We matter. This is our side. I feel like there’s been a lot of chatter on their side. We’re going to let our pads do the talking.”
As expected, cornerback Marcus Peters (calf) will make his return after a three-game absence while top backup cornerback Brandon Stephens (illness) was declared out for the opening round of the playoffs after missing the entire practice week. The Ravens also ruled out second-year wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who hurt his hamstring during Thursday’s practice.
Cincinnati listed only one player on its final injury report with right guard Alex Cappa officially being ruled out with a left ankle injury suffered last Sunday. Rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt had been limited with a groin injury this week, but he was upgraded to full participation on Friday.
Below is the final injury report for Sunday’s wild-card showdown:
OUT: QB Lamar Jackson (knee), CB Brandon Stephens (illness), WR Tylan Wallace (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Tyler Huntley (right shoulder/wrist)
OUT: G Alex Cappa (ankle)