Watkins, Stanley absent Wednesday as Ravens shift attention to Chargers


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ramping up preparations for their Week 6 meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers, the Ravens could be without starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

After exiting in the second quarter of Monday’s win over Indianapolis with what was announced as a hamstring issue, the 28-year-old wasn’t present for Wednesday afternoon’s walk-through practice. Asked if Watkins was dealing with anything serious, head coach John Harbaugh didn’t go out of his way to paint an optimistic picture for his short-term status.

“Yes, Sammy has a hamstring [injury],” Harbaugh said. “So, we’ll just see how long it takes for him to get back.”

Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-familiar development for the oft-injured Watkins, who caught 16 passes for 257 yards over his first four games with Baltimore and made two receptions for 35 yards before his second-quarter exit against the Colts. The fourth overall pick of the 2014 draft hasn’t played all 16 games in a season since his rookie year and missed six or more games in three of the last five years entering 2021.

Watkins’ potential injury absence may coincide with the NFL debut of first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who has been practicing since Sept. 29 and could be activated to play against the Chargers on Sunday. Because star quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the start of training camp due to a COVID-19 infection and Bateman suffered a groin injury on Aug. 10 that led to surgery and a lengthy absence, the two haven’t logged much on-field time together since spring workouts. How quickly the 6-foot-1, 193-pound receiver out of Minnesota can make an impact remains to be seen, according to Jackson.

“Things always look good in practice,” Jackson said. “I’ve got to see it in the game once we’re actually out there. I can’t really tell you off that right now.”

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (left ankle) wasn’t present for the walk-through and appears likely to miss his fifth straight game on Sunday.

After sitting out his second straight game against Indianapolis, safety DeShon Elliott (quad) remained a limited practice participant. Elliott practiced all week on a limited basis last week, but he wasn’t deemed ready to go with the quad injury sustained in the Week 3 win at Detroit. Reserve safety Geno Stone (thigh) was also a limited participant on Wednesday after being deactivated on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the Chargers were without wide receiver Mike Williams, who sat out with a knee issue on Wednesday. Off to a terrific start with 31 catches for 471 yards and six touchdowns, the 6-foot-4 receiver hadn’t been listed on the injury report in recent weeks and caught eight passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns without any reported incident in the Chargers’ 47-42 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

Below is Wednesday’s injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OLB Pernell McPhee (non-injury), OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S DeShon Elliott (quad), S Geno Stone (thigh), OT Alejandro Villanueva (knee)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Drue Tranquill (chest), WR Mike Williams (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Nasir Adderley (hip), RB Justin Jackson (groin)