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Mark Andrews Returns to Ravens Practice

TE Mark Andrews
TE Mark Andrews

He's baaack. Eight weeks after suffering a major ankle injury, Mark Andrews returned to Ravens practice Friday, about a week before Baltimore's playoff opener.

Andrews has been designated from return from injured reserve, opening his 21-day window to be moved to the 53-man roster.

Andrews suffered a reported cracked fibula after a hip-drop tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, knocking the Pro Bowl tight end out for the past six games.

When Andrews first suffered the injury, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he had an “outside chance” of returning later this season. The Ravens kept the door open and one of their leaders and best players worked to walk through it.

"I think we're on the same timetable that we were on. We're in that range, but today was the first day," Harbaugh said. "He did individual [drills], that was it. So, we kind of ran it from there, and we'll get into next week and have a better idea."

Andrews was moving well during his portion of practice, working out in front of Tight Ends Coach George Godsey and Offensive Coordiantor Todd Monken. At one point when Andrews burst off the line of scrimmage, fellow tight end Isaiah Likely let out an "ooooh!"

"He definitely looked good. He was definitely trying to open up," Likely said. "I'm always telling him how much faster I am, but he definitely looked fast out there."

It remains to be seen if Andrews will be ready to play in the divisional playoff game against the Ravens' undetermined opponent, but he'll have a week of practice under his belt before a determination is made.

Regardless, his sheer return to practice provided an emotional boost to his teammates.

"We all dearly miss him as a teammate, a leader, a brother," fullback Patrick Ricard said. "For him to already be back on the field and running around and looking pretty good, it's very encouraging for the team and himself."

Andrews still finished the regular season with a team-high six receiving touchdowns, the second-most receptions (45), and third-most receiving yards (544). But Baltimore also still did well even without its star.

The Ravens won six straight games and Likely has become a major playmaker in Baltimore's offense. Since taking over as the starter, Likely has made 21 catches for 322 yards and scored five touchdowns in six games.

Now the Ravens will have both in their arsenal, adding another dimension to the offensive attack. The question, beyond when Andrews is able to play in a game, will be how both are worked into the mix.

"Going from one tight end sets, to two tight end sets, and still having Pat out there to go into three tight end sets, it creates the havoc of, 'How do we stop that?'" Likely said.

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