OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Though the Ravens welcomed back three injured players to Thursday’s practice, it’s looking more likely that they’ll be without their starting running back for Sunday’s meeting with Cincinnati.
Center Bradley Bozeman (back), left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (knee), and cornerback Tavon Young (knee) all returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday, but Latavius Murray remained sidelined with a sprained ankle sustained late in the third quarter of the Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Though head coach John Harbaugh labeled the 31-year-old Murray as “day to day” on Wednesday, you’d expect the Ravens to exercise some caution with their bye week following Sunday’s game.
Should Murray not be available to play against the Bengals, the Ravens would likely turn to increased workloads for running backs Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell. All three of their veteran running backs scored touchdowns in last week’s 34-6 victory over the Chargers.
“It’s a very unique situation in totality,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman about his three former Pro Bowl running backs. “I don’t care who scores as long as we score, but they’re doing a nice job. I think we’ll continue to further get on the same page and understand everything we’re doing together as we move forward.”
In addition to Murray, wide receiver Sammy Watkins remained absent with a hamstring injury and appears very likely to miss his second straight game on Sunday. That should mean plenty of snaps for rookie first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman for a second straight week after he made his NFL debut last Sunday.
While Villanueva has been in and out of practices while dealing with a sore left knee for a few weeks, Bozeman’s return was a relief after he missed much of the second half of last Sunday’s win due to a back injury. That said, the Ravens have expressed confidence in second-year lineman Trystan Colon filling in at center if necessary after he played a season-high 26 offensive snaps against the Chargers.
“We feel really good about Trystan because he’s been in the program for a couple years,” Roman said. “He’s continuing to evolve and grow, so I don’t really expect much different with him in there. We’re pretty much a billboard for ‘next man up,’ and that’s how every player in that locker room has to feel.”
For the Bengals, backup nickel corner Jalen Davis (ankle) was the only player on the 53-man roster to miss Thursday’s practice because of an injury.
Below is Thursday’s full injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Latavius Murray (ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (thigh), DT Brandon Williams (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: C Bradley Bozeman (back), ILB Patrick Queen (thigh), OT Alejandro Villanueva (knee), CB Tavon Young (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Jalen Davis (ankle), DT Tyler Shelvin (illness)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: HB Chris Evans (hamstring), DE Trey Hendrickson (shoulder), C Trey Hopkins (knee), HB Samaje Perine (non-injury), DT Josh Tupou (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S Ricard Allen (ankle), QB Joe Burrow (throat), LS Clark Harris (knee), WR Mike Thomas (ankle)