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Ravens guard Marshal Yanda eyeing return to field for first time in nearly a year

Baltimore,Maryland--8/9/18--Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda is on the cusp of making his first start since Sept. 17, 2017 when he fractured his left ankle in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns. Lloyd Fox,Baltimore Sun Staff--DSC_6364.JPG
Baltimore,Maryland--8/9/18--Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda is on the cusp of making his first start since Sept. 17, 2017 when he fractured his left ankle in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns. Lloyd Fox,Baltimore Sun Staff--DSC_6364.JPG (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Barring any sudden hiccups, Marshal Yanda is planning to start at his customary right guard spot when the Ravens open the regular season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. It will mark the six-time Pro Bowler’s first appearance in a game since Sept. 17, and his eagerness to return was palpable before Wednesday afternoon’s practice at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills.

“It’s been a long time, but I’ve just been preparing the same way,” he said. “Last year is last year. It was definitely tough, but I’ve just been preparing like usual. I’m just working hard every day and being ready to be productive. So I’m definitely excited to get back out there.”

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The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Yanda, who turns 34 on Sept. 15, started the first two games of 2017 before fracturing his left ankle in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns. Then in the offseason, he injured his right shoulder while lifting weights, requiring him to undergo surgery.

Yanda was activated from the team’s physically unable to perform list Aug. 4, and although he took part in joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts, he was held out of the final four games of the preseason. He agreed with the cautious approach.

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“Last year, I think I had only 10 reps in the preseason, and that was great, too,” he said. “But yeah, they’ve definitely taken care of me. There’s been a plan in place for a long time, and we’re getting ready and are just going to keep rolling with that plan.”

Coach John Harbaugh said Yanda has impressed in practice.

“He’s been practicing now for three or four weeks, and he looks like Marshal Yanda to me – a hard worker, very into what he’s doing,” he said. “He looks the same, and we’ll have the regular competition start on Sunday, and all the guys are excited about it.”

Yanda’s anticipated return would bolster an offensive line that includes two players starting at different spots in center Matt Skura and left guard Alex Lewis. Yanda acknowledged that he will have a few nerves before Sunday’s game, but said he has no concerns about his surgically repaired ankle or shoulder.

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“I’ve felt really good and strong,” he said. “I haven’t had any soreness or anything. I feel like I can cut it loose and go because otherwise, it would have come up in camp. I’ve had enough reps by now, and I had some good reps against Indy. So I don’t think I’ll be holding back. I’ll be rolling.”

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