A right ankle injury again sidelined Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson during practice on Thursday, leaving the team without its most important player for possibly the most important game of the season.
Jackson, who also missed practice on Wednesday, has only attended one workout since he was kicked off the field on December 12 after a Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He was inactive for Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams despite practice. Limited participants in last week’s first session.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that Jackson remains “day-to-day” despite limited availability. If Jackson misses Friday’s walk-through, he will have rehearsed just once in the past 26 days. Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to comment on Wednesday whether he expects Jackson to practice or play in Sunday’s regular season finale.
“I don’t see the value of taking it on at the moment,” he said.
The Ravens, who need to win Sunday in Baltimore to keep their bleak playoff hopes alive, were missing seven other players in practice on Thursday. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (legs) and cornerback Anthony Everett (ribs/chest) lost their second straight practice. Wide receiver Marquis “Hollywood” Brown (ankle) and left guard Ben Cleveland (head) were also out. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva left behind Devonta Freeman and defensive tackle Brandon Williams got the day to rest.
Right tackle Patrick McCreery, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a hand injury, was restricted. Left guard Ben Powers (leg) was limited for the second straight day.
The Ravens placed fullback Patrick Ricard and tight end Nick Boyle on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, the team’s first active-roster players to be sidelined by coronavirus protocols in a week.
Rickard, who has been battling a knee injury in recent weeks, was also placed on injured reserve, meaning his season is likely to be over. A Pro Bowl selection and pending free agent, Record has played in just one game since the 13th week, returning Sunday to lose to the Ravens’ Rams.
Boyle, who has appeared in five games since returning from a serious knee injury that ended his 2020 season, will need to exit the NFL’s protocol for Sunday’s game. His absence would limit the offense’s ability to include the Steelers outside linebacker TJ Watts, who had 3 and a half sacks in their 13-week meeting. Like Ricard, Boyle is one of the Ravens’ most important run blockers.
Under the league’s updated protocolFor asymptomatic persons, the standard isolation period after a positive test has been reduced from 10 days to five days, regardless of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated players who test positive can clear the protocol sooner if they return two negative tests within a day and are asymptomatic.
The Ravens last placed a member of their 53-man roster in the reserve/COVID-19 list on December 28. Josh Oliver back on Tuesday after a tight end, Team No player was sidelined by the virus, Justice Hill and Safety Ar’Darius Washington also dropped off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, but both remain on the season-ending IR.
In Pittsburgh, the Steelers placed wide receiver Dionte Johnson and starting center Kendrick Green on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Johnson is the team’s leading receiver (100 receptions for 1,110 yards) and has a career-high eight touchdowns in 15 games. On Wednesday, the Steelers also placed starting cornerback Joe Haden on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
In Thursday’s practice, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral/right shoulder) was a full participant after being limited on Wednesday. Dan Moore Jr. (ankle), right guard Trai Turner (knee), reserve in linebacker Buddy Johnson (feet) and reserve cornerback Arthur Moulette (ill) missed the start of the tackle.