Short-handed Ravens hope for negative COVID-19 tests & depth

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, left, is stopped short of the goal line by Baltimore Ravens free safety DeShon Elliott (32) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

The Baltimore Ravens are considerably short-handed at practice this week after moving two starting offensive linemen to injured reserve and placing eight players on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Coach John Harbaugh can only hope the situation improves in time for Sunday's key AFC clash on the road against the Indianapolis Colts (5-2).

Coming off a 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that dropped the defending AFC North champions two games out of first place, the Ravens (5-2) will face the Colts without left offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Tyre Phillips. Both players were placed on injured reserve Tuesday after sustaining ankle injuries against Pittsburgh.

Baltimore also must find a replacement for All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who has tested positive for the coronavirus and won't suit up. Following Humphrey's diagnosis, the Ravens put starting linebackers Patrick Queen, Matthew Judon and L.J. Fort on COVID-19 reserve, along with starting safety DeShon Elliott and reserve linebackers Malik Harrison and Tyus Bowser. Backup defensive back Terrell Bonds made the list, too.

The COVID-19 list was created for a player who either tests positive for the disease or who has been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

The seven players who joined Humphrey on the list have been isolated. If they test negative for the virus through Saturday, they'll be able to participate in the final walk-through and will travel with the team in Indianapolis, Harbaugh said.

Until then, the Ravens will fill the void at practice with backups, several of whom previously watched the proceedings from the sideline.

“Same number of reps, same process," Harbaugh said Wednesday. “It creates opportunities for a few younger guys and for some guys to play some different spots. You look at it as an opportunity to create versatility within the defense."