Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins has passed his physical and come off the physically unable to perform list, the team announced Monday.
Dobbins is not in the clear yet for Week 1 against the Jets, but his ability to suit up for practice in early August is the first step in his journey back to field.
“I thought he looked good in individual (drills) first day back,” coach John Harbaugh told reporters. “He was out there in individual, you guys saw him, moving around, running the ball-handling drill. That’ll be the first step. Maybe we add a little more every day and kind of see how the knee responds. But it seems like it’s so far, so good.”
As a rookie, Dobbins had 134 carries for 805 yards and nine rushing touchdowns, plus another 120 yards and four scores on 18 receptions. He was expected to take over Baltimore’s backfield in 2021 and build on his 6.0 yards per carry to make a push to become a top back in the league, but he suffered a torn ACL in the preseason.
Dobbins’ injury started a rash of misfortune for the Ravens at the position. Justice Hill tore his Achilles in practice less than a week later, and Gus Edwards suffered an ACL tear before the season started as well, forcing Baltimore to operate with a rotating door at running back throughout the year.
The return of Dobbins signals what the Ravens surely hope will be a reversal of fortunes in the injury category this season. Although Edwards remains on the PUP list, Dobbins is joining an RB stable that includes Hill, Mike Davis, Corey Clement, Nate McCrary and sixth-round pick Tyler Badie.
The Ravens will follow the doctor’s orders in bringing their best backfield option along in the coming weeks, but Harbaugh did tell reporters last week, “As soon as he’s back out there, we’ll be coaching him really hard.”
Whether Dobbins is able to return for Week 1 or sometime shortly after, his electric playing style will restore something Baltimore was sorely lacking last season. A home-run threat RB is on his way back to pair with quarterback Lamar Jackson, and defenses will have to be on notice.