John Harbaugh gives sobering update on Keaton Mitchell injury

Mitchell may not be back for the forseeable future.
Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Chargers
Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Chargers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens will primarily lean on Derrick Henry to carry their strong ground game, but Todd Monken will luckily have a menagerie of quality backups who can fill different roles when Henry needs a breather. Chief among them is speedy former undrafted free agent Keaton Mitchell.

Mitchell's run to stardom took a serious detour when he was sidelined due to an ACL injury. Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that Mitchell is rehabbing quite well, but he told fans not to get their hopes up regarding him getting back on the field in time for Week 1.

Harbaugh said that Mitchell's recovery is going "on schedule" as he tries to get back to full strength, but he confirmed that Mitchell is not going to be ready for Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Harbaugh said the team expects him back "sometime during the season" and makes note of the fact his return is "not like right around the corner."

John Harbaugh gives tough injury update on Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell

Mitchell, viewed by many as the ideal speed backup behind the thundering force that is new signing Derrick Henry, averaged an absurd 8.4 yards per carry in limited action last season. Mitchell averaged 66 yards per game on just 47 total carries between Weeks 9 and 15 last season.

While the Ravens would ideally like one of their best young players to remain healthy for as long as possible, Baltimore has one of the best running back rooms in the league with or without him. Henry alone will keep this ground game strong without the East Carolina product.

In addition to Henry, veteran backup Justice Hill seems ready to occupy a very prominent role with Baltimore this season. While fifth-round rookie Rasheen Ali is dealing with his own injury concerns, his last two full seasons at Marshall showed that he is a smooth runner with serious big-play potential.

The Ravens are wisely being very cautious with Mitchell and his injury as the youngster works his way back to full health. If Baltimore can hold down the fort until he returns to action, the Ravens will be able to form one of the best thunder and lightning combination between the bulldozing Henry and elusive Mitchell.