As it stands, it's been one step forward and one step back for the Baltimore Ravens in training camp. They're ecstatic to have former league MVP Lamar Jackson back from the COVID/Reserve list after his second bout with the disease, but he may have to wait to build chemistry with Rashod Bateman, the team's rookie first-round pick. Bateman injured his groin during Tuesday's practice.
The injury occurred in one-on-one drills against veteran cornerback Marcus Peters, when Bateman made a cut on a route and then went down in noticeable pain. Head coach John Harbaugh later confirmed the injury on Wednesday, specifically saying it's a soft tissue ailment that will force him to miss "a number of weeks."
"He's got a soft tissue leg issue," Harbaugh told reporters on Wednesday. "That's going to be weeks. It'll be a number of weeks. So, I don't know how many. It's not going to be months, but it will be weeks and we'll see where we're at."
On Thursday, the news got a bit more grim, but also came attached with a positive prognosis.
"He's actually getting surgery, either today or Friday, on his groin," said Harbaugh before setting a timetable that isn't too far off into the future. "He'll be back sometime in September, so that's pretty good news."
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Add to this the absence of Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (another former first-round pick) with a hamstring injury the team says "turned out to be worse" than they initially thought -- per Harbaugh -- and the veteran wideout will be "out until he's back". With Bateman and Brown set to miss time, the onus will be a player like Miles Boykin to step up, a third-year receiver who's amassed just 464 combined receiving yards in his first two years with the club -- in 24 starts -- and newly signed free agent Sammy Watkins; who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with Baltimore in April.
Bateman was the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and is a former All-Big Ten talent who also won honors as the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year in 2019 for his work at Minnesota.