Mark Andrews and Lamar Jackson are like “peanut butter and jelly,” Isaiah Likely said. He’s hoping to get to that level, too.
The second-year tight end clicked quickly with his quarterback, whom he describes as a superhero. He also hit it off with Andrews, who has become his “brother.” But Andrews has been the star of the show while Likely has played a supporting role.
That all changed when Andrews went down with an ankle injury in the team’s “Thursday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a scary moment for Likely, who was there, begging Andrews to get up. Andrews eventually did, but he’s likely out for the rest of the season.
Andrews underwent ankle surgery in North Carolina on Tuesday following tests, MRIs and meetings with doctors. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday the procedure went well.
Likely called Andrews after his injury but wasn’t surprised when he didn’t pick up. So he sent him a text message saying he’s around to talk when Andrews is ready. Andrews hit him up Tuesday, and Likely said he’s been in good spirits.
Now, the spotlight is on Likely. Although Harbaugh said it will take everyone, not just the tight ends, to fill the hole Andrews’ injury has left, this is Likely’s chance to prove he’s more than just a backup.
Likely has had to step up in Andrews’ absence before. Last season, Andrews injured his shoulder in the second quarter of a Week 8 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was inactive for two other games, giving Likely the chance to start. In the final game of the season and Likely’s second career start, he had eight catches for 103 yards.
Andrews has coached Likely during his early career, and the former fourth-round pick expects that support to continue even if Andrews can’t play.
“Mark told me, ‘Stay the course and stay ready’ all the time,” Likely said. “He’s done a fantastic job helping me day in and day out — route running, pass blocking, everything.”
Big returns, a little scare
The Ravens saw three players, including Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley, return from injury to participate in practice Wednesday. Both were limited participants.
Humphrey, who missed the first four games of the year after offseason foot surgery, injured his calf in the Week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns. It was a noncontact injury but was less serious than originally feared.
Humphrey on Wednesday joined the defensive backs for position work. He wore a padded helmet but participated in collision drills.
Later in the Browns game, Stanley was injured when an opponent rolled up on his leg. His knee was injured in the season opener against the Houston Texans, and he missed weeks 2-4. The most recent knee injury kept him out of the game against the Bengals.
Inside linebacker Trenton Simpson, who was in concussion protocol, also returned to practice, as did Damarion “Pepe” Williams. Simpson was limited, and Williams was a full participant.
“Everyone’s doing a really good job of trying to get back,” Harbaugh said. “We’re a relatively healthy football team.”
Three players missed practice, two left early and one was surprisingly limited.
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman appeared to injure his foot. He left practice, but Bateman and Harbaugh said he should be OK.
“All is well,” Bateman said in the locker room.
Wide receiver Devin Duvernay left around the same time with a knee injury. He and fellow receiver Zay Flowers (hip) were limited participants in practice, although Flowers stayed out for the entirety of the media viewing window.
Cornerback Arthur Maulet missed practice with an illness.
Veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. also missed practice, but he has sat out the team’s Wednesday practice session the last two weeks and gone on to play. As with the previous two weeks, his designation was for a shoulder injury. He injured his shoulder again against the Bengals.
Only two players on the Los Angeles Chargers’ 53-man roster did not practice. One was outside linebacker Khalil Mack, but that was for a rest day. The other was tight end Nick Vannett, who has a concussion.
There were four limited participants: wide receivers Keenan Allen (shoulder) and Jalen Guyton (groin), tight end Gerald Everett (chest) and safety JT Woods (illness).
Six players on the injury report returned as full participants: offensive lineman Will Clapp (knee), safety Alohi Gilman (elbow), quarterback Justin Herbert (left finger), defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day (wrist), tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hip) and tackle Rashawn Slater (knee).