Injuries have been Kenneth Dixon’s biggest obstacle since the Ravens drafted him in 2016, and they’ve hit again.
His most recent setback was a knee injury suffered late in Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills. Dixon was expected to miss several weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Instead of waiting for a potential return, the Ravens placed Dixon on injured reserve Wednesday afternoon and promoted De'Lance Turner from the practice squad to take his place.
When healthy, Dixon has looked promising as a runner with shiftiness and the ability to break tackles. Before limping off the field Sunday with just one minute, 36 seconds left in the game, Dixon led the Ravens in rushing yards (44) and carries (13).
However, Dixon missed four games with a knee injury as a rookie, then missed all off the 2017 season with a torn meniscus. Dixon was also slowed by a hamstring injury during training camp this summer.
Turner was impressive in the preseason, including a 65-yard touchdown run in Miami and a 28-yard run versus Washington in the finale. He's shown excellent feet and burst, and could see some action in Thursday night's game.
Here’s a rundown following Wednesday’s injury report:
CB Maurice Canady (Thigh), DT Willie Henry (Abdomen), TE Hayden Hurst (Foot), and Dixon Ruled Out
Canady was also injured Sunday and missed practice Monday and Tuesday. He has given the Ravens increased depth at cornerback behind Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, who have been the starters while Jimmy Smith has been serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct code.
Nickelback Tavon Young was outstanding Week 1 with two sacks and excellent coverage, and backup rookie corner Anthony Averett is also available. But with Canady and Smith both sidelined, the Ravens may dress Darious Williams, who was inactive Week 1.
Henry and Hurst both missed the season opener and have not returned to practice. Hurst underwent stress fracture surgery last month. Henry is recovering from hernia surgery.
The Ravens got plenty of production at tight end without Hurst on Sunday from Nick Boyle (three catches, 40 yards), Maxx Williams (three catches, 32 yards) and Mark Andrews (three catches, 31 yards). Joe Flacco loves throwing to tight ends, so all three could see more opportunities against the Bengals.
WR/RS Janarion Grant (hand) Is Questionable
Grant handled all the return duties in Week 1, so losing him would force the Ravens to adjust. Wide receiver Willie Snead IV could take over as the returner, but he only has limited experience with the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens also have wide receiver Tim White on the practice squad, who handled punts during the preseason before losing his battle with Grant.
If Snead gets the job Thursday, securing the football will be his focus. Grant had an exciting 51-yard punt return Sunday that he nearly broke for a touchdown. However, he also muffed one punt in the wet conditions and was fortunate the ball ricocheted out of bounds before the Bills could recover.
Lamar Jackson Expected to Be Joe Flacco’s Backup Again
Flacco and Jackson were the only two quarterbacks the Ravens dressed in Week 1. The Ravens are expected to repeat that scenario against the Bengals. Jackson was used in variety of formations against Buffalo and played five snaps during the first half. Then Jackson played quarterback much of the second half once the Ravens were comfortably ahead.
While Jackson did not produce any big plays, his threat as a runner and passer adds another dimension to the Ravens’ offense, one that Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis expects to see.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s a good football player,” Lewis said. “They’re going to utilize him a little bit in the offense and we have to respond.”
Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap Upgraded
Dunlap (calf) was listed as a full participant Wednesday after being limited in Tuesday’s practice. The upgrade on Dunlap, an excellent pass rusher, was good news for the Bengals. Dunlap had 9 ½ sacks last season, plus another sack Sunday in the Bengals’ 34-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Bengals wide receiver Cody Core (back) was doubtful, while linebacker Preston Brown (ankle) was questionable.