The Baltimore Ravens will be without their first-round pick WR Rashod Bateman for likely the rest of the preseason and possibly the start of the regular season, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday morning.
Bateman suffered a groin injury during yesterday’s practice. Though the injury wasn’t as severe as initially feared, it’s a big setback for his rookie season.
“He’s got a soft tissue, leg issue,” Harbaugh said at a press conference. “It’ll be weeks. A number of weeks. It’s not going to be months. Months. But it’ll be weeks. We’ll see where we’re at.”
That should put his absence at somewhere between 3-6 weeks. Best-case scenario, he returns for the team’s Week 1 opener. Worst-case, he misses the first few games of the regular season. Even on the quickest timeline, Bateman will have missed the vast majority of the preseason and trying to play catch-up the rest of the regular season.
Bateman, drafted 27th overall, was expected to give an immediate boost to a flailing Ravens’ passing game. He played just five games in 2020 for Minnesota, opting out of the rest of the season after catching 36 passes for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He also missed time during OTAs due to a minor injury. It adds up to a substantial amount of time missed and could make for a forgettable rookie season. Bateman, however, should be healthy for his first meeting against the Steelers which doesn’t come until December 5th, a Week 13 matchup.
Without him, the Ravens will count on WR Sammy Watkins and fourth-round rookie Tylan Wallace as new faces to the pass game along with returning players like Hollywood Brown, Myles Boykin, and Devin Duvernay. Baltimore finished last season averaging just 171.2 yards through the air per game, last in the league, though they also finished with the fewest passing attempts (25.4 per game) in their run-centric offense.