After returning to practice this week as a limited participant and being listed as questionable on the injury report, there was some hope that Mark Andrews would suit up for Saturday’s divisional round matchup.
However, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Friday morning, Andrews is not expected to be activated off injured reserve.
Not yet: The #Ravens are not expected to activate star TE Mark Andrews from Injured Reserve to play against the #Texans, as he’s not quite ready to return from a significant ankle injury.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 19, 2024
Perhaps next week, as a potential AFC Championship Game appearance was always the goal. pic.twitter.com/PRqnn2eIYz
Andrews has been out of the lineup since Week 11, where he suffered a significant ankle injury in the first quarter of the Ravens’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was originally believed to be a season-ending injury but Head Coach John Harbaugh soon revised that assessment, saying Andrews may be able to return later in the postseason.
Optimism peaked earlier this week when Andrews returned to the practice field for the first time since early mid-November. When speaking to reporters the past few days, Harbaugh said Andrews looked good and Andrews himself said continues to feel better each day.
It seemed signs were pointing to Andrews suiting up for Saturday and possibly being eased into action in a more limited role. However, the Ravens instead appear to be playing it safe with the All-Pro tight end. Should the Ravens win and advance, Andrews would likely have a strong chance of playing in the AFC championship game next weekend.
With Andrews’ return being delayed, second-year tight end Isaiah Likely figures to again play a prominent offensive role against the Texans. Likely has emerged as an impact playmaker in Andrews’ absence, catching five touchdown passes and averaging over 50 receiving yards per game over the final six weeks of the season.