Harbaugh confident in Dobbins' return from ACL tear in 2022


After an MRI revealed a season-ending ACL tear in Ravens' starting running back J.K. Dobbin's left knee, coach John Harbaugh kept an optimistic eye toward the future on Monday for his talented 22-year-old rusher. 

"I'm not worried about long-term J.K. at all," Harbaugh said at the Ravens practice availability on Monday. "Like his agent said, there's nobody tougher than him, there's nobody more passionate than him, and there's nobody that'll work harder than him. So, yeah, he'll be just fine."

The second-year back was set to be the featured rusher in Lamar Jackson's backfield for the 2021 season after lighting it up during his rookie campaign. Dobbins' six yards-per-carry was the second-highest average for a rookie in the last 20 years, according to ESPN. 

"That's the thing about J.K., he's just the hardest worker and he's the most passionate guy," Harbaugh said. "He will be ready to go next year, there's no question about it. He'll be ready to roll, he'll probably be ready to roll in OTAs the way he gets after it and the timing of it."

Though Harbaugh's mood was plenty positive in terms of his outlook on Dobbins' capacity to recover from the first long-term injury of his pro career, he made sure to open his morning press conference in a mood much more reflective of the heart-in-mouth moment when the injury happened on Saturday night at FedEx Field. 

"So that's a disappointment, especially for J.K. and from us for J.K.," Harbaugh said. "Our hearts go out to him. It's so challenging because he works so hard. He was so prepared, he was so ready to go this year and was so excited to go and was such a big part of our plans."

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Dobbins never missed a game in his three-year Ohio State career, and missed all but one play his senior season in high school after breaking a bone in his leg. He's shown the propensity to come back from injuries before, and will look to bring that same mindset into this recovery process. 

"Like any injury, which happens and will happen across the NFL and different teams, you just have to approach it and overcome it. It's adversity and we have to deal with it and we will," Harbaugh said. "We have the players to do it, we have the team to do it. The guys are excited to practice. I have full confidence in the rest of the the running backs who are here to pick up the load and do a great job for us."

Those running backs will be led by Gus Edwards, who general manager Eric DeCosta made a priority to re-sign in the offseason to a two-year deal. With him, the Ravens' preseason leading rusher Ty'Son Williams and Justice Hill will look to make the most out of their opportunities. 

"Yeah Ty'Son, you do the math, he's there," Harbaugh said. "He'll be out there playing and doing it, and obviously he's ready to go. He's practiced every day, and he's excited about his opportunity."