After missing two weeks of practice, including an additional day on Wednesday, Joe Flacco (right hip) has returned to the practice field.
Flacco has missed two straight games after sustaining a hip injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore would go on to win both games that he missed against the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders.
In relief of Flacco has been rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, who in two starts has gone 27-for-44 (61.36%) passing for 328 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Jackson also has 37 rushing attempts for 190 yards (5.14 yards per attempt) and one touchdown during that span.
On Wednesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network stated that Baltimore planned to start Jackson against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, as Flacco had not been cleared to practice. He did however mention that there could be a change in recent days that Flacco could be an option to start against the Falcons.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh mentioned on Monday that Flacco’s ability to practice would depend on the hip specialist’s opinion.
“My understanding with that injury is the biggest criteria is the protection of the hip — the hip’s ability to protect itself,” Harbaugh said of Flacco’s injury. “It has to be strong and stable in terms of all those things. Like I said, there’s no big tear in there that I’m aware, that they told me, but the hip has to be strong and not agitated for Joe to be able to protect himself.
“And, that’s the concern — is just Joe’s safety with the injury and that’s why it’s an opinion That’s’ why the doctor has to decide. It’s not like a hamstring or something where you say, ‘It’s this degree healed,’ or not. They just have to look at it and say, ‘Okay, it’s good.”
Since Flacco has missed two weeks of practice, it would still be a long shot for him to play on Sunday. That could change next week if he gets a full week of practice. Depending on if Baltimore wins and remains in the AFC Wild Card race, they will have a tough situation to make in playing the 11-year veteran or the rookie.
Among other players who returned to practice were wide receiver Michael Crabtree (vet day), running back Gus Edwards (ankle), running back Alex Collins (foot), guard Marshal Yanda (vet day), cornerback Jimmy Smith (illness), safety Anthony Levine Sr. (ankle), safety Eric Weddle (vet day) and outside linebacker Tim Williams.