Lamar Jackson is running out of time.
The Ravens quarterback missed his 16th straight practice Wednesday, dimming hopes that he could return for Sunday’s AFC wild-card-round game against the third-seeded Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in a Dec. 4 win over the Denver Broncos, a span of five games and 38 days.
Coach John Harbaugh, who on Friday was “hopeful” that Jackson would return for the postseason, said after practice Wednesday that he had “no updates at this time” on his playoff availability. Asked about the possibility of Jackson playing at less than 100% health, Harbaugh said any player could be active “as long as he’s safe and healthy and can play.”
Backup Tyler Huntley, who sat out the Ravens’ 27-16 loss Sunday in Cincinnati to rest his right (throwing) shoulder, is in line to start in Jackson’s place against the Bengals. He was limited again in practice Wednesday, not throwing a pass during the 30-minute viewing period open to reporters.
“He’s doing a lot better,” Harbaugh said. “He was out there at practice today and took a bunch of plays, so he had a good day today. I’d say he’s on schedule, hopefully, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Undrafted rookie Anthony Brown, who started Sunday, would be expected to back up Huntley if Jackson is unavailable. He went 19-for-44 for 286 yards in Cincinnati, but had three turnovers, all of which led to Bengals touchdowns.
The sixth-seeded Ravens have typically ruled out players who don’t practice in the week entering a game, leaving Jackson with only two days to get on-field work before a possible playoff comeback. On Tuesday, he retweeted a video in which NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter recounted a recent conversation with a player who had sprained his knee in Week 1 and told Trotter that he was still “not right.”
Eight other Ravens were missing at practice. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, left guard Ben Powers, defensive lineman Calais Campbell, and outside linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston got rest days, while running back Gus Edwards was sidelined by the NFL’s concussion protocol. Long snapper Nick Moore and cornerback Brandon Stephens were ill. Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) and Marcus Peters (calf) were limited.
The Bengals were missing just two players Wednesday, starting right guard Alex Cappa (ankle) and starting wide receiver Tee Higgins (illness), while cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (groin) was limited.