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Ravens Insider: Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell has torn ACL: ‘It’s a long-term knee thing,’ coach John Harbaugh says


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The gruesome season-ending injury Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell suffered in Sunday night’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars is a torn ACL, though coach John Harbaugh declined to confirm the news on Monday.

“There’s ligament tears,” he said of the injury. “It’s a long-term knee thing. There wasn’t cartilage-type damage, so that helps quite a bit; it’ll be a little cleaner.

“Obviously Keaton had some big runs for us, and that’s obviously a very heartbreaking loss for us.”

In the meantime, the Ravens will call up Melvin Gordon III from the practice squad.

The nine-year vet and former first-round pick of the then-San Diego Chargers has 6,515 career rushing yards and 55 touchdowns along with 312 catches for 2,513 yards and 14 scores. This season, however, he has seen action in just two games and has 53 yards on 13 carries.

“He’s been working so hard,” Harbaugh said of Gordon. “His opportunity comes. He’s been there before. He’s a high-pedigree, great player, talented.”

Still, Baltimore will likely lean much more on Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.

This season, Edwards has 163 carries for 663 yards and 11 touchdowns, most of them from short range. Hill, meanwhile, has 71 carries for 313 yards and three scores.

None of them bring the kind of explosiveness, however, that the undrafted rookie out of East Carolina did.

After starting the season on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury, Mitchell debuted on Oct. 22 against the Detroit Lions. In his next game, against the Seattle Seahawks, he broke out with nine carries for 138 yards and a touchdown.

Sunday night, Mitchell had nine carries for 73 yards as well as two catches for 15 before going down early in the fourth quarter.

In eight games, including two starts, Mitchell ran for 396 yards with two touchdowns and caught nine passes for 93 yards. He also provided a kind of dynamic playmaking — and pure speed — that separated him from the Ravens’ other backs, not that Harbaugh was interested in comparing them.

“I’m not in the judgment business about ranking and all that,” he said. “That’s what you guys can do.”

As for Mitchell, his father, former Ravens defensive back Anthony Mitchell, told The Baltimore Sun via text Monday morning that his son and the family are in “good spirits” and that it was time for him to “go to work” on his comeback.

The brutal injury happened early at the end of a 13-yard run in which his left leg buckled as he was tripped up from behind. Mitchell immediately grabbed his left knee, trainers tended to him and he was carried to the blue medical tent on the sideline before being put onto a cart.

Michell gave a thumbs-up as he exited the field, but the injury hit Ravens players, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, hard.

“That was very tough,” he said Sunday night. “He’s lights out. He was just starting to get started, so that’s tough to see. My thoughts and prayers are with him because he’s a guy. That was a crazy injury.”

  • Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell is taken off the...

    Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell is taken off the field in the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell carries the ball against...

    Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell carries the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell, pictured being tackled during Sunday...

    Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell, pictured being tackled during Sunday night's game against the Jaguars, has torn ligaments in his left knee, coach John Harbaugh said on Monday. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

  • Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell, right, tries to get past...

    Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell, right, tries to get past Jaguars linebacker Foyesade Oluokun in the first half Sunday night. (John Raoux/AP)

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