OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Counting down to Thursday’s preseason opener against Tennessee, the Ravens have learned they won’t have Tyler Linderbaum at center for the time being.
A day after saying the rookie first-round pick was “going to be fine” after leaving practice with a foot injury, head coach John Harbaugh announced Linderbaum would miss some time after undergoing an MRI. The Iowa product hurt his left foot trying to block rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones in a 9-on-7 period and limped off the practice field with a member of the training staff on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s not a serious thing. It’s going to be probably at least a week [to] just let it settle down,” Harbaugh said. “It could be two weeks. We’ll see. Of course, he’ll tell me otherwise, but it’s not going to be through all of training camp unless something changes.”
A rookie missing practice time is never ideal, but the Ravens not handling Linderbaum like the typical first-year player could work to their advantage with the season opener still five weeks away. Usually deferring to veterans atop the spring and summer depth chart, Baltimore made Linderbaum its starting center from the first day of organized team activities instead of having any designs of a competition with more experienced options such as Patrick Mekari and Trystan Colon.
Ideally, Linderbaum would return in time to play in the Aug. 27 preseason finale at the very least, but he’s stacked enough practices with the first-team offense that the organization will be cautious with the 25th overall pick.
“I want him out here every day because as a rookie, he can use every bit of it he can get, but he has gotten all of the reps up to this point. He’s done well,” Harbaugh said. “It does give us an opportunity. Pat Mekari is going to know what he’s doing and do well. Then, we have to get some other guys ready.”
Harbaugh said Colon will see extensive action against the Titans. A couple other interior linemen such as Ben Powers will also practice snapping more frequently in upcoming practices.
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman missed Friday’s practice with a “minor” ailment and is expected to be held out through the weekend.
“He probably could have gone today, and we just said, ‘No,’” Harbaugh said. “We’ll probably hold him out [Saturday] too. Some of that soft tissue stuff, fatigue starts to set in. That’s where we’re at with a couple of guys.”
Defensive back Brandon Stephens is also dealing with a “soft tissue” injury that’s sidelined him since Tuesday while wide receiver Devin Duvernay hasn’t practiced since sustaining a thigh bruise in last Saturday’s stadium practice. Harbaugh said Duvernay could have practiced Friday, but he’s being cautious with the Pro Bowl return specialist who’s projected to have a larger role on offense this season.