OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley took significant steps this week toward making his long-awaited return to game action.
Whether he completes that process against Buffalo on Sunday remains to be seen, however, as Stanley was officially designated as questionable on the final injury report. After practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday for the first time since returning to practice on Sept. 5, Stanley received a rest day on Friday while rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele continued preparing to start at left tackle if the 2019 Pro Bowl selection isn’t ready to go.
Stanley had been listed as doubtful on the final injury report for each of Baltimore’s first three games. Saturday will mark exactly 23 months since the 28-year-old suffered the left ankle injury that’s required multiple surgeries and sidelined him for 30 of the last 31 games including the postseason.
Speaking to reporters for the first time all season on Thursday, Stanley said he was “very close” to returning, potentially as soon as Sunday.
“We don’t want to rush things. We want to make sure that I’m able to play and to be here for the whole season,” Stanley said. “I think things are going really well. Things are going according to plan.
“I want to be out there. I want to be out there as soon as I can.”
Head coach John Harbaugh declined to address Stanley’s status following Friday’s practice.
With backup left tackle Patrick Mekari officially listed as doubtful after suffering a sprained ankle in last Sunday’s win at New England and missing practices all week, the Ravens are all but guaranteed to elevate a reserve offensive tackle from the practice squad if Stanley isn’t ready to play. The deadline for Week 4 roster moves is 4 p.m. Saturday, meaning we should have a better picture of his status by then.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston was also designated as doubtful to play against Buffalo with the groin injury that forced him out of the win over the Patriots, meaning Baltimore could elevate outside linebacker Brandon Copeland from the practice squad for a second straight week.
“There’s definitely some juggling going on,” said Harbaugh about the roster. “That’s something that we’ve pretty much worked out. We have a plan for that. You’ll see that today and tomorrow — what we’re going to do. There will be a guy or two called up off the practice squad and possibly the roster also.”
Harbaugh wouldn’t say whether veteran newcomer Jason Pierre-Paul would play against the Bills, but the 33-year-old said he’d “definitely be ready” to play Sunday after a full week of practice. The three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher didn’t officially sign his one-year contract with the Ravens until Monday and hadn’t been with an NFL team since finishing the 2021 campaign in Tampa Bay.
Pierre-Paul registered just 2 1/2 sacks and a career-low five quarterback hits in 12 games last season, but he confirmed he underwent major surgery in February to repair damage to his rotator cuff, bicep tendon, and supraspinatus, quipping that he “basically got a whole new shoulder.”
“I feel way, totally, way better. I was playing with only one shoulder last year. Since [Week 3 of last season], I was playing with one shoulder,” Pierre-Paul said. “Imagine playing with one shoulder as a defensive end. I did what I could do for the team and holding my own, but not having two shoulders is a big thing. You can’t push, can’t grab, can’t snatch, but I can do all that now.”
The Bills aren’t exactly coming to Baltimore as the picture of health after ruling out three players and listing six starters as questionable to play on Sunday. That list includes safety Jordan Poyer (foot), No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis (ankle), cornerback Dane Jackson (neck), and tight end Dawson Knox (back/hip).
Below is Friday’s full injury report:
DOUBTFUL: OLB Justin Houston (groin), OL Patrick Mekari (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle)
OUT: CB Christian Benford (hand), WR Jake Kumerow (ankle), DT Jordan Phillips (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Gabe Davis (ankle), CB Dane Jackson (neck), TE Dawson Knox (back/hip), C Mitch Morse (elbow), OL Justin Murray (foot), DT Ed Oliver (ankle), S Jordan Poyer (foot)