OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are as healthy as they’ve been entering Week 1 since 2020, something they hope will pay early dividends as they kick off the 2023 campaign against Houston on Sunday and play three AFC North road games over the season’s first five weeks.
While top cornerback Marlon Humphrey remains sidelined after mid-August foot surgery and starting outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (knee) is on the reserve non-football injury list, tight end Mark Andrews returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and “looked fine,” according to head coach John Harbaugh. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been dealing with a quadriceps injury, and it’s unclear how much Andrews was able to do in his first practice since going through pregame warmups in the Aug. 21 preseason game at Washington. Harbaugh has dismissed there being any concern about Andrews’ availability to open the season.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was also listed as a limited participant, but that was a regular occurrence last year after he returned from multiple ankle surgeries to play in 11 regular-season games. The standout lineman practiced regularly throughout the summer for the first time since suffering the initial injury to his left ankle midway through the 2020 season.
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman wasn’t listed on Wednesday’s injury report, a great sign for the 2021 first-round pick in his return from last November’s season-ending foot surgery. Bateman opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list and was a limited practice participant through the end of August, but the 6-foot-1, 197-pound receiver says he’s finally ready to go.
“It’s been a tough road, but we’re back to square one. We’re healthy. I feel really good,” Bateman said after Wednesday’s practice. “My teammates have been there for me. The staff has been there for me. I think I’m in for a good year, so we’ll see.”
Not included on the injury report, reserve quarterback Tyler Huntley is apparently 100% from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for the final two preseason games, but it remains to be seen whether he or the 37-year-old Josh Johnson will be the primary backup to Lamar Jackson on Sunday. Though not surprising after a healthy training camp, Jackson not being on the injury report remained a welcome sight after he missed the final six games — including the playoff loss at Cincinnati — of the 2022 season with a knee injury.
The 2019 MVP quarterback will be playing in his first game since spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Denver on Dec. 4.
“I’d say I’m a little bit anxious, but coach Harbaugh said in a meeting, ‘Don’t peak too soon,’ so I’m not trying to peak too soon,” said Jackson, who missed the end of each of the last two seasons because of leg injuries. “I was lifting earlier with [strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Elliott], and I was telling him I feel like I’m ready because I was running around in walk-through earlier too. I’m just pumped to be honest. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Baltimore can’t wait either.
Meanwhile, the Texans will be without their starting right tackle after placing Tytus Howard (hand) on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss at least the first four games of the season. Veteran reserve George Fant is expected to take Howard’s place to help protect rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud in his NFL debut. The Texans were already without second-round rookie center Juice Scruggs, who was placed on IR last week with a hamstring injury.
Houston also practiced without starting safety and key free-agent addition Jimmie Ward (hip) on Wednesday, and his status for Sunday’s game is unclear.
Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Marlon Humphrey (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Mark Andrews (quad), OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Blake Cashman (hamstring), WR John Metchie (hamstring), S Jimmie Ward (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Christian Harris (shoulder), RB Dare Ogunbowale (hamstring)