OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Head coach John Harbaugh had little interest in discussing the Ravens’ health picture ahead of their Week 4 trip to Cleveland, but Wednesday brought some much-awaited returns as well as some new concerns.
After sustaining injuries in the season-opening win over Houston, left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee), center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), and free safety Marcus Williams (pectoral) all returned to the practice field on a limited basis. The availability of Stanley and Linderbaum would be a significant development as the Baltimore offensive line tries to keep superstar defensive end Myles Garrett and the rest of the Browns front away from quarterback Lamar Jackson on Sunday.
Despite initial fears that he might need season-ending surgery for his pectoral injury, Williams returning would be a boost for a Ravens secondary that’s held up very well without him and top cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
“He’s one of our leaders, so anytime he can just be around and be out here — no matter the capacity — it always makes you feel good,” nose tackle Michael Pierce said. “We’ll get Marlon back at some point and those guys that are working to get healthy — Tyus [Bowser] as well. Anytime you can get a guy like Marcus back who changes the game in a blink of an eye, that’s always good just to have that energy back and have those guys who you can really rely on back, so that’s awesome.”
As Pierce noted, the Ravens are still without Humphrey, who is likely to miss his fourth straight game after undergoing foot surgery in mid-August. Starting safety Kyle Hamilton also missed Wednesday’s practice with a back issue after playing all 84 defensive snaps in the Week 3 overtime loss to Indianapolis.
Ailing at outside linebacker with Odafe Oweh (ankle) likely to miss a second straight game and David Ojabo (ankle/knee) exiting last Sunday’s game after just four snaps, the Ravens officially signed veteran Kyle Van Noy to their practice squad on Wednesday. Greeted by general manager Eric DeCosta with a handshake on his way out to the practice field, the 32-year-old Van Noy won two Super Bowls playing for New England and has experience playing on the edge with 33 1/2 career sacks and as an off-ball linebacker. Given their light numbers at outside linebacker, the Ravens may have little choice but to call on Van Noy to contribute immediately.
“I have a lot of respect for ‘K.V.’ and the way he even came in today, and the way he’s been approaching things since I first met him,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “His leadership as well as just how smart the guy is [and] how quickly he picks up on things. He’s already out here today calling out things. A well-seasoned veteran [whose] been in a lot of different schemes, so he knows exactly what we expect of him. I’m just excited to welcome him to the team, and I think he’s going to be a great addition for us.”
The Ravens are now dealing with depth concerns at wide receiver after veteran Odell Beckham Jr. sat out last week with an ankle injury, Tylan Wallace landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and Rashod Bateman left last Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness. Neither Beckham nor Bateman practiced Wednesday with those absences coming on the heels of Baltimore signing two more receivers — Tarik Black and Dontay Demus — to the practice squad on Tuesday to join Laquon Treadwell and Sean Ryan. Such practice-squad numbers at wide receiver would suggest the status of both Beckham and Bateman is in doubt this week.
The only three healthy wide receivers on the 53-man roster are rookie Zay Flowers and veterans Nelson Agholor and Devin Duvernay.
Running back Justice Hill (foot) remains sidelined with a foot injury, but he was able to do some work on a side field during the portion of practice open to media. In better news, fellow running back Gus Edwards was listed as a full participant just a few days after being evaluated for a concussion late in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis.
The Browns practiced without four starters on Wednesday, but Garrett, left guard Joel Bitonio (ankle), wide receiver Amari Cooper, and ex-Ravens edge rusher Za’Darius were all listed as receiving rest days. Having already lost four-time Pro Bowl selection Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury, Cleveland is banged up at running back with starter Jerome Ford limited with a shoulder issue and veteran Kareem Hunt sitting out Wednesday’s practice with rib and groin injuries.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was also listed as a limited participant with a sore right shoulder, but that is not expected to jeopardize his status for Sunday’s game.
Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Rashod Bateman (hamstring), WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle), S Kyle Hamilton (back), RB Justice Hill (foot), CB Marlon Humphrey (foot), OLB David Ojabo (ankle/knee), OLB Odafe Oweh (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: C Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), OT Ronnie Stanley (knee), S Marcus Williams (pectoral)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Gus Edwards (concussion)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: G Joel Bitonio (ankle/rest), WR Amari Cooper (non-injury/rest), DE Myles Garrett (non-injury/rest), RB Kareem Hunt (ribs/groin), DE Za’Darius Smith (non-injury/rest)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Jerome Ford (shoulder), OT James Hudson (ankle), CB Greg Newsome (elbow), QB Deshaun Watson (right shoulder)