After it appeared that the Ravens may have escaped their preseason opener without any major injuries, the organization delivered more bad news to an ever-growing list on Friday afternoon.
Starting left guard Alex Lewis will undergo shoulder surgery next week and will miss the entire 2017 season. The Ravens say the 2016 fourth-round pick’s shoulder hadn’t responded favorably to treatment in recent days, leading to the decision to operate.
It’s a major blow to an offensive line that saw two starters depart in the offseason and had already lost interior linemen John Urschel to retirement and fourth-round rookie Nico Siragusa to a season-ending knee injury since the start of training camp. General manager Ozzie Newsome will likely need to pursue veteran depth as the best options on the current roster to replace Lewis at left guard are former practice-squad member Matt Skura and fifth-round rookie Jermaine Eluemunor.
Lewis was one of three projected starters on the offensive line to miss Thursday’s game as right guard Marshal Yanda and right tackle Austin Howard continue to be brought along slowly after offseason shoulder surgeries.
The team also announced that rookie wide receiver Tim White suffered a thumb injury in Thursday’s win over Washington and will undergo a repair procedure. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season, an unfortunate development for a rookie free agent who had turned heads this summer. White caught a 33-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter of the 23-3 win over the Redskins.
Since June 1, the Ravens have now lost a whopping nine players for the season because of season-ending injury, retirement, or suspension.
The Ravens also said that quarterback Joe Flacco will return to practice during the summer, but he is not expected to play in any preseason games. The press release added that he is making “good” progress after having his back re-examined and “the plan” is for him to start at Cincinnati to open the season on Sept. 10.
Of course, many will remain skeptical of this updated timetable after the organization had initially expressed hope that Flacco might miss only a week to begin camp.
Backup Ryan Mallett struggled in the preseason opener, completing 9 of 18 passes for just 58 yards.