Ravens hopes Lamar plays, but ‘all hands on deck’

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – For the third week in a row, quarterback Lamar Jackson has not been ruled out despite missing almost all of the Baltimore Ravens’ training sessions.

Jackson, who is dealing with a right ankle injury, has not practiced for the past two days after limping hard on Wednesday. After Friday’s practice, Raven’s coach John Harbaugh kept hoping Jackson could make it to Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, which is crucial to Baltimore’s dwindling playoff hopes.

“I think he has a chance to play on Sunday,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have to see. This time of year … it’s all hands on deck. It will guys who are ready to play and can play.”

The Ravens officially listed Jackson as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

Tyler Huntley, who has filled in skillfully this season, would be in line to start if Jackson can not play, Harbaugh said. Josh Johnson, who started last Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, would then back Huntley.

Also wide receiver Marquise Brown is listed as questionable after not practicing the last two days with an illness.

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, injured his right ankle on Dec. 12 during Baltimore’s loss to Cleveland. He did not train for the next two weeks and the Ravens continued to report him as questionable before making him inactive on game day.

On Wednesday, Jackson returned to the field for the first time in 17 days, struggling to put weight on his right foot as he moved from practice to practice.

Asked if Jackson was allowed to practice prematurely, Harbaugh said: “It’s medical decisions. That’s what doctors and coaches do. We do not make those decisions as coaches. It did not make him worse.”

Baltimore (8-7) has lost four games in a row to fall to No. 8 in the AFC playoff field with seven teams. If the Ravens lose to the 11-4 Rams, their chances after the season will drop to 8% according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.

The Ravens, who opened as 3-point underdogs, have become 5.5-point underdogs since Jackson missed training.

“We just have to win,” Huntley said when asked to start in such a pressure-filled game.

After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, Huntley returned to the Ravens Thursday after being activated from the reserve / COVID-19 list. He said he had “severe symptoms” late last week, forcing him to miss Sunday’s game in Cincinnati.

“I’m much better now,” Huntley said.

Huntley, who is 1-1 as a starter, has exceeded expectations as he filled in for Jackson. In his final start, Huntley became the first Ravens player to record multiple touchdown passes and touchdown runs in the same game in a 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

“I can play a little bit in this league,” Huntley said. “I just want to get better. I feel good that the reps I get make everyone around me feel even better.”

Baltimore have never lost five games in a row in coach John Harbaugh’s 14 seasons and have not missed the offseason since 2017.

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