OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will return to practice Wednesday as Baltimore heads into what is essentially a must-win game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jackson, who is dealing with a right ankle injury, is expected to have limited participation, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said before Wednesday’s practice. Sidelined for the last two games, Jackson will get back on the field for the first time since hurting his ankle on Dec. 12, when Baltimore lost at Cleveland, 24-22.
Harbaugh said Jackson’s availability for Sunday’s game will depend on how Jackson progresses throughout the week.
“I’m really hopeful,” Harbaugh said. “I’m hopeful for all our quarterbacks, starting with Lamar. I really want to see him out there on Sunday. I know the fans do, and I know most of all Lamar does. He’s going to do everything he can to be out there. You can’t make a promise because we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”
The Ravens (8-7) have lost four straight games and are currently No. 8 in the seven-team AFC playoff field. If Baltimore loses to the Rams, its chances of reaching the playoffs plummets to 8%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Ravens’ postseason chances increase to 59% with a victory.
The return of Jackson could provide a boost when the Ravens need it the most. Jackson is 37-12 (.755) as a starting quarterback and has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his three seasons in the NFL.
“Obviously, getting No. 8 back is special because he’s a special player,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said.
Before the injury, Jackson was mired in the worst slump of his career. Since Week 10, Jackson has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions for a 34.3 Total QBR, which ranks 25th in the league over that span.
But Jackson remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. In his last game against the Rams, Jackson threw for five touchdowns and ran for 95 yards in a 45-6 rout in Los Angeles in his 2019 NFL MVP season.
“We’ll be excited to see him out there, for sure,” Ravens center Bradley Bozeman said. “That’s our guy. Lamar brings a great energy to practice, to the games, to everything he’s involved with.”
Jackson’s injury has been described as a sprained ankle, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jackson is dealing with a bone bruise.
In addition to Jackson coming back, backup quarterback Tyler Huntley is expected to be activated off the reserve/COVID list on Thursday, according to Harbaugh.