Brutal stretch of injuries, setbacks challenges Ravens as season opener nears

OWINGS MILLS, Md. –- Shortly before Thursday's practice, cornerback Marcus Peters was trying to put a positive spin on the Baltimore Ravens' injury-filled training camp. Peters talked up running back Gus "The Bus" Edwards, who was scheduled to be the starting running back after J.K. Dobbins recently suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“It’s going to hurt us,” Peters said of losing Dobbins. “But Gus is going to be able to pick it back up. We’re going to get on ‘The Bus,' and we’re going to ride it.”

Less than two hours later, Peters and Edwards were added to the list of injured Ravens with season-ending ACL injuries.

Thursday’s news extended a brutal stretch of injuries and setbacks for the Ravens. Since training camp began on July 27, Baltimore has had 13 key players get sidelined for over a week by either an injury or by testing positive for COVID-19.

It has only gotten worse as the season nears. Over the past 19 days, the Ravens have had five players sustain season-ending injuries, including three running backs. Baltimore is set to start Ty'Son Williams, a practice squad player with no NFL carries, at running back in the Monday Night Football opener at Las Vegas (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC).

A recap of Baltimore’s terrible run since the start of training camp:

July 27: On the night before the first full-team practice of camp, Edwards and quarterback Lamar Jackson test positive for COVID-19. Because they are unvaccinated, Edwards and Jackson must quarantine and miss the first 10 practices.

July 29: In the second practice of camp, wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown injures his hamstring. He is out for the rest of camp and returns 32 days later.

Aug. 2: Wide receiver Miles Boykin hurts his hamstring and eventually gets placed on injured reserve to start the season. He is expected to return in October.

Aug. 3: Guard Kevin Zeitler injures his foot and is sidelined for 13 days.

Aug. 6: Cornerback Jimmy Smith goes down to the ground after being in tight coverage against tight end Mark Andrews. Smith is carted off the field with a sprained right ankle. He is out for 33 days.

Aug. 10: Wide receiver Rashod Bateman tears his right groin making a cut against Peters on a one-on-one drill. He undergoes surgery and is placed on injured reserve to start the season. The expectation is Bateman comes back in early October.

Aug. 17: Cornerback Marlon Humphrey suffers a mildly strained groin when he turns to stay in stride with wide receiver Jaylon Moore on a deep route. He is sidelined 15 days.

Aug. 18: In a joint practice at Carolina, defensive end Derek Wolfe is knocked on his back in a collision. A projected starter, he has yet to return to practice and was listed on this week’s injury report with back and hip injuries.

Aug. 21: Inside linebacker L.J. Fort tears his ACL in the Ravens’ preseason game at Carolina, which is using synthetic FieldTurf for the first time. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game: “[His foot] got stuck in that AstroTurf out there, unfortunately.” Fort is out for the season, which hurts Baltimore’s special teams and experienced depth at inside linebacker. He was the team’s only inside linebacker over 26.

Aug. 28: Dobbins tears his ACL after taking a direct hit on his left knee from Washington cornerback Jimmy Moreland. Dobbins was projected to have a breakout year in his first full full season as Baltimore’s starting running back. On the sideline, Harbaugh lamented the loss of Dobbins soon after the injury, telling Jackson and special teams ace Anthony Levine Sr.: “I just wanted to get the offense one series, just to be together. I’ll get over it, but I’m not going to get over it right now.”

Sept. 2: In his second practice since returning from an ankle injury, running back Justice Hill tears his Achilles. He is the second Baltimore running back to sustain a season-ending injury in five days. The Ravens soon work out Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman and eventually sign both to the practice squad.

Sept. 9: The Ravens lose Edwards and Peters to season-ending ACL injuries. It was not a full-contact practice, and the players weren’t suited up in pads. Edwards is the third running back to go down for the season in 12 days. Peters, who leads the NFL in interceptions (31) since 2015, is the first defensive starter to suffer a season-ending injury.