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Ravens health updates: Stanley meeting with doctors; Bateman, Boykin to begin practicing

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens appear close to getting some answers on the status of franchise left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who hasn’t played since laboring his way through the season opener against Las Vegas two weeks ago.

Whether they’ll like what they hear remains to be seen.

Still not fully recovered from the severe left ankle injury sustained against Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, 2020, Stanley has missed the last two games after playing all 68 offensive snaps and struggling against the Raiders in his return. Pro Football Focus credited the 2019 Pro Bowl selection with allowing nine pressures in the 33-27 overtime loss, which was more than the analytics website credited Stanley with giving up over the entire 2019 season.

“It’s still in process. He’s meeting with doctors even as we speak,” head coach John Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. “We’ll find out pretty soon. There’s just some decisions that have to be made. I wouldn’t want to comment further than that right now.”

In Stanley’s absence, veteran Alejandro Villanueva has shifted from right tackle to the left side where he started for the Steelers from 2015-20. The 33-year-old played well in the Week 2 win over Kansas City, but he had a difficult time against Detroit on Sunday with PFF charging him with surrendering nine pressures in the 19-17 win.

Should Stanley be facing another lengthy absence nearly 11 months after sustaining the injury that had required two surgeries as of March, it’s understandable to wonder whether he’ll be able to regain his dominant pre-injury form at any point during 2021. The 27-year-old signed a five-year, $98.75 million extension that reportedly included over $60 million fully guaranteed just two days before the injury. While you’re certainly happy the 2016 first-round pick from Notre Dame gained long-term financial security before getting hurt, it’s been an unfortunate development for the organization that Stanley has played only one full game since signing the lucrative extension on Oct. 30, 2020.

The Ravens can only hope for the best as well as his return sooner than later.

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Bateman, Boykin returning to practice

Rookie first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman is primed to return to the practice field for the first time since sustaining a groin injury that required surgery nearly seven weeks ago.

Harbaugh confirmed both Bateman and third-year wide receiver Miles Boykin will return to the practice field this week after missing most of training camp and starting the regular season on injured reserve. Bateman hurt his groin on Aug. 10 and underwent the surgical procedure on Aug. 13 while Boykin has been sidelined since injuring his hamstring on Aug. 2. After such long absences, you’d expect both to need some time to get back into football shape before being ready for live-game action.

“They are both going to come back and practice,” Harbaugh said, “and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Any player designated to return from IR has a 21-day window in which to practice before the team must reinstate him to the 53-man roster or leave him on IR for the rest of the season. Players may be activated at any point over the 21-day period.

Harbaugh said tight end Nick Boyle will not return to practice this week as he continues to work his way back from a serious left knee injury suffered last November. Boyle was activated from the physically unable to perform list at the end of the preseason and only briefly returned to practice in early September before going on IR.

Elliott’s Week 4 status unclear

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Starting safety DeShon Elliott injured his quad in the third quarter of Sunday’s game and briefly returned before exiting for good, leaving his status for the Week 4 trip to Denver in question.

“That will be ongoing. We’ll just have to see how it goes,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a muscle type of a thing, so you just have to see how those go.”

Rookie third-round pick Brandon Stephens and veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith could see increased snaps at safety if Elliott isn’t able to play against the Broncos.

Hayes placed on IR

Rookie fifth-round outside linebacker Daelin Hayes played only four defensive snaps in his NFL debut before leaving the game with a left ankle injury early in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Lions.

On Monday, the Ravens announced they were placing Hayes on IR, which will keep him out for at least three games. Baltimore was already shorthanded at the outside linebacker position on Sunday after Justin Houston and Jaylon Ferguson landed on the reserve-COVID-19 list late last week.

Hayes becomes the 16th Baltimore player to be placed on IR.

Baltimore also cut wide receiver Devin Gray from its practice squad on Monday.

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