Ravens OT Ja’Wuan James could return in the near future

Ja'Wuan James, Ravens (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Ja'Wuan James, Ravens (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have designated offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James to return from injured reserve, officially opening a 21-day window for James to join the active roster.

It’s a dose of positive news, for once, regarding the Ravens’ injury-plagued team, and James’ potential return couldn’t come at a better time.

The Ravens signed James back in June after he was released by the Denver Broncos. James had just suffered a torn Achilles tendon in May, causing the Broncos to void his guarantee and let him go — now, there’s a chance James will be healthy enough to feature in Baltimore’s 2021 season.

On Wednesday, James practiced with the team for the first time since his injury, a big first step toward getting back into game-ready form.

Expectations should be kept at a bare minimum, though.

In an ideal world, James would replace starting right tackle Patrick Mekari, who is dealing with a hand injury that could cause him to miss several games.

The Ravens designated Ja’Wuan James to return from injured reserve

With Ronnie Stanley’s season-long absence, a bookend tackle duo of James and Alejandro Villanueva could be a huge improvement to the offensive line in providing protection for Lamar Jackson and for the running game.

James was a full participant at practice on Wednesday, but a plethora of variables still need to be considered.

James hasn’t played since 2019, and even then, a knee injury limited him to just three games. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

He spent most of his career playing right tackle on the Miami Dolphins, starting 65 games in five seasons.

No one really expected James to recover quickly enough to play in 2021, but his designation to return from injured reserve seems at least a little promising.

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In the meantime, the Ravens have other injury issues to address, including the loss of cornerback Marlon Humphrey. It will be nothing short of a miracle if John Harbaugh can patch up every injury-created hole in the Ravens’ defense and still muster a strong postseason run.