Coach John Harbaugh said there’s still an “outside chance” tight end Mark Andrews returns this season, but first he must undergo surgery.

The Ravens tight end will have his ankle operated on Tuesday by Dr. Robert Anderson, a renowned foot and ankle specialist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to Mike Garafolo with the NFL Network.

Andrews injured his left ankle on the offense’s first drive against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night and missed the rest of the game. The NFL Network on Friday reported the injury was a cracked fibula and ligament damage.

After Andrews underwent MRIs and testing, Harbaugh said the results were better than originally feared. He wouldn’t speculate on a timetable but said there is a chance Andrews returns.

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Andrews is one of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s most trusted targets. He’s been targeted 563 times in his 87 career games, including 61 times in 10 games this season. He’s the team’s second-most targeted receiver this year behind Zay Flowers.

Following the game, both Harbaugh and his players said it will take a lot to replace Andrews. No one player will be able to do so. Instead, they will need every player on the offense to elevate his game.

Andrews was injured on a play that utilized the controversial hip-drop tackle. The NFL competition committee discussed banning the move in the offseason, and conversation has picked up since Andrews’ injury.

Harbaugh questioned after the game if the move was necessary in that case. However, he declined to say whether he thinks it should be banned altogether.

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Note: Ravens cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams was back at practice after he was designated to return from injured reserve Tuesday. Williams, who was placed on IR at the end of training camp after undergoing ankle surgery, played in 14 games as a rookie last season. The Ravens have 21 days to add him to the 53-man roster; if he’s not activated, he’ll revert to season-ending IR.

giana.han@thebaltimorebanner.com

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