OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is expected to miss the start of the regular season after sustaining a right knee injury in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The second-year back suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament while making a tackle on Joe Flacco’s second interception late in the first quarter of the 40-17 defeat. On Monday morning, Taliaferro posted a message on Twitter suggesting he would miss significant time because of the injury.
“He’s going to be out for a few weeks,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s an MCL sprain. I don’t have a degree on it yet, but it’s going to be a few weeks for Lorenzo. Some of those young guys are going to step up in the immediate future.”
Leading the competition to serve as the primary backup to 2014 Pro Bowl selection Justin Forsett, Taliaferro carried four times for eight yards on Saturday before leaving the game. The 2014 fourth-round pick gained 292 yards and four touchdowns on 68 carries before a foot injury ended his rookie season in mid-December.
Taliaferro’s absence opens the door for rookie Buck Allen to become the No. 2 running back behind Forsett. Selected in the fourth round of this spring’s draft, the USC product rushed six times for 19 yards and made two receptions for 25 yards against the Eagles.
“He has done a nice job competing, working hard every day to get better [and] to get more comfortable in our offense,” running backs coach Thomas Hammock said. “He obviously has great hands. He has good vision. We’re trying to get him more comfortable as a pass protector, and he goes out there and performs when his number is called.”
With Taliaferro sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Ravens will likely be looking to keep an extra running back behind Forsett and Allen, leaving the door open for Fitz Toussaint and Terrence Magee.
A rookie free agent from LSU, Magee led Baltimore in rushing on Saturday, gaining 44 yards on 11 carries. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound running back has shown an impressive burst and good field vision during practices this summer.
“He was a north-south runner, low to the ground, powerful dude,” said Harbaugh of Magee’s performance against Philadelphia. “Just how he ran in college is how you saw him run the other night. It’s nice when you see that transfer from the college game to this level. It was good to see.”