OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Joe Flacco took his most significant step toward returning Friday, when the Baltimore Ravens‘ longtime starting quarterback fully practiced for the first time since injuring his right hip on Nov. 4.
Flacco has yet to be cleared to play in a game, but doctors could do so before Sunday’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.
While the expectation is that Jackson will start Sunday’s game, coach John Harbaugh wouldn’t say whether he has a decision to make at starting quarterback going forward.
“I’m not getting into all that,” Harbaugh said after Friday’s practice. “… It’s not something that we’re going to talk about. I’m not trying to be coy or clever. We’re just rolling. We’re just going to play the games. We don’t feel like we owe any explanations to anybody. We’re going to put our best team out there and try to go play some football.”
Harbaugh acknowledged there is a scenario in which Flacco will serve as a backup Sunday, which would be a first for the former Super Bowl MVP. Flacco has started all 163 games he has played in his 11-year career.
During the media viewing portion of practice, Flacco moved around much better than he did a week ago but did have a slight hitch in his walk. He showed zip on his passes, including deep ones down the field.
“It didn’t look like there were any ill effects from the hip,” Harbaugh said. “From my amateur eye, it looks like it was the right thing to give him the rest. We’ll see what the docs say.”
Flacco, 33, is in the midst of another uneven season. He has completed 61.2 percent of his passes, throwing 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (84.2 passer rating).
With Flacco sidelined, Jackson has led a run-heavy offensive attack. Baltimore became the first NFL team since 2010 to rush for over 200 yards in three straight games. Jackson’s 265 yards rushing are the most by a quarterback in his first three starts in the Super Bowl era.
Asked if there could be opportunities for the Ravens to play Flacco and Jackson at different times during the game, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said, “Certainly could be.”
The Ravens (7-5) currently hold the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Baltimore is looking to end a three-year playoff drought.
Flacco was not made available to reporters Friday.