Ailing Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco won’t play in the preseason as he continues to recover from a back injury. According to the team, Flacco remains on track to be under center on Sept. 10 when the Ravens open the regular season at the Cincinnati Bengals.
Two other offensive players, however, won’t be playing in that game.
Continuing a staggering run of roster losses, the Ravens announced Friday that both starting left guard Alex Lewis and emerging rookie wide receiver Tim White will miss the entire season because of injuries that will require surgery.
They become the eighth and ninth players since June 1 that the Ravens have lost for the year because of injury, suspension or retirement.
Lewis, who started eight games as a rookie, tore the labrum in his shoulder and it was not responding to treatment, according to the team. He’ll have season-ending surgery next week to repair a torn labrum, yet another blow to an offensive line in flux.
The Ravens had already lost starting center candidate John Urschel, who decided to retire on the morning of the team’s first training camp workout, and rookie fourth-round guard Nico Siragusa, who tore up his left knee early in training camp.
At this point, it’s unclear what the Ravens will do at left guard with Lewis sidelined. Even after signing right tackle Austin Howard last week, they’ve been looking to add another offensive lineman either in a trade or through free agency. The Ravens restructured cornerback Jimmy Smith’s contract earlier this week, creating a little over $5 million of salary cap space and giving them the flexibility to make another move.
If they can’t acquire a guard, they could opt to sign a center — Nick Magnold and former Ravens lineman Jeremy Zuttah remain on the market — and then move current starting center Ryan Jensen to left guard.
Matt Skura and rookie fifth-round pick Jermaine Eluemunor started at the guard spots in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, so they could be options to step in on a permanent basis as well.
It had appeared that the Ravens emerged from the 23-3 victory over Washington without any significant injuries. However, the Ravens announced Friday that White, who caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Josh Woodrum, hurt his thumb in the game and will need season-ending surgery.
White, a former Arizona State standout, had been one of the team’s most impressive wide receivers throughout training camp, and he also was being considered for the punt and kick returner role.
His injury costs the Ravens a potential playmaker and it could open the door for fellow undrafted receiver Quincy Adeboyejo or former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to make the team.
It is widely believed that White, Adeboyejo, Reynolds, Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro (River Hill), Chris Matthews and Griff Whalen were competing for two or three receiver spots behind the top three of Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman.
The injury to White comes at a time when Perriman remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and Flacco still hasn’t practiced this training camp because of a bad back.
According to the team, Flacco got re-examined and he’s making good progress in his recovery. He’s expected to return to practice at some point this preseason, but the Ravens will hold him out of preseason games.
The team initially said the longtime starting quarterback would be sidelined for a week. However, he has now passed the two-week mark and his return to the practice field doesn’t appear imminent.
Ryan Mallett, who has been working with the first-team offense in Flacco’s place, has struggled in practice and didn’t play particularly well against the Redskins, completing just nine of 18 passes for 58 yards.