Ravens 'Anticipate' Lamar Jackson Playing vs. Bengals amid Ankle Injury, per Harbaugh

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 20, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 12: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens stays down on the field after suffering an injury in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson's status going forward remains uncertain after he missed Sunday's 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers with an ankle injury.

"It's just whether he's ready or not," head coach John Harbaugh told reporters following the game. "It's the question I ask him. We'll anticipate him being back next week, but if he's not able to be fully ready, then we'll go with Tyler [Huntley]. So we'll be ready to go either way."

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

"We'll be ready to go either way."<br><br>Coach Harbaugh on the QB situation for next week: <a href="https://t.co/Itwws4tqDh">pic.twitter.com/Itwws4tqDh</a>

Illnesses and injuries have been a storyline in the second half of the 2021 season for Jackson. He missed a November win over the Chicago Bears because of illness, while an ankle injury kept him out Sunday. The Ravens are 1-1 without him in the starting lineup this season.

Huntley also had to replace Jackson last week after he suffered the ankle injury in the second quarter of a 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns. In total, Huntley's thrown for 704 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in those three contests, taking 10 sacks while also rushing for 158 yards and two scores.

As the 8-6 Ravens battle for a playoff berth—they currently find themselves in eighth place in the AFC, just outside of postseason contention—the health of Jackson will be paramount.

The superstar quarterback and former MVP has thrown for 2,882 yards, 16 touchdowns and a worrying 13 interceptions, completing 64.4 percent of his passes. As always, he remains a major threat on the ground, rushing for a team-leading 767 yards to go along with two scores.

While Huntley has proved to be an adequate backup, the Ravens are simply a far less dynamic offense without the explosive Jackson under center.

Baltimore now enters a crucial home stretch, with matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6), Los Angeles Rams (9-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1) to close the year.

"We have the chance to go win the division in the next three games," Harbaugh told reporters Sunday.

They'll have a much better chance if Jackson is able to go.