Ravens rookie tight end Hayden Hurst has a stress fracture in his foot and was scheduled for surgery Friday to insert a screw, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Hurst will miss the next three to four weeks, per the report.
If the reported timetable for Hurst's recovery is accurate, he will miss at least the first two games of the regular season, and possibly the third.
Hurst has quickly emerged as a new weapon for the Ravens' offense after being drafted in the first round with the 25th-overall pick. Not only has Hurst put together strong practices, he caught five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown during the preseason. Hurst developed fast chemistry with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who loves throwing to tight ends.
The Ravens have depth a tight end, and Hurst's absence will likely increase playing time for Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, and possibly fellow rookie Mark Andrews. However, Hurst has shown himself to be the best pass-catcher among the group and somebody the Ravens were relying on as a key contributor in their aerial attack.
This development likely removes any doubt that Williams will make the team. It could also create a roster spot for Vince Mayle or Darren Waller, who was reinstated earlier this month after a year-long suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The timing of the surgery is strange coincidence. Hurst turns 25 years old Friday, which means he reportedly will spend part of his birthday in surgery.
It's the first major injury the Ravens have suffered this preseason, as left tackle Ronnie Stanley's knee sprain is "minor" and won't be an issue beyond this week, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Thursday.