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Ravens brace for rookie Bateman to miss opener

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Rashod Bateman will have surgery on his groin this week and could miss the start of the season.

“He’ll be back from that some time in September,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after Thursday’s practice. “I think that’s pretty good news.”

Bateman’s surgery likely jeopardizes his availability for the Ravens’ season opener on Sept. 13, when they play at the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football. Baltimore then hosts the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 (Sept. 19) before traveling to face the Detroit Lions in Week 3 (Sept. 26).

Bateman, who was projected to be among Lamar Jackson‘s top three wide receivers, injured his right groin Tuesday while making a cut against cornerback Marcus Peters in a one-on-one drill. Harbaugh said Wednesday that Bateman was expected to miss “a number of weeks.”

The No. 27 overall pick, Bateman was one of the biggest offseason additions to a Ravens receiver group that totaled the fewest catches (137), receiving yards (1,729) and first downs (83) in the NFL last season.

Bateman is the fourth Baltimore wide receiver to miss multiple practices leading up to Saturday’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, joining Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (hamstring), Miles Boykin (hamstring) and Deon Cain (undisclosed). Brown, who hasn’t practiced since July 29, has been running off to the side and appears to be close to returning.

The Ravens’ only three healthy wide receivers who’ve caught a pass in the regular season are Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay and James Proche. Watkins is the only one with more than 20 career receptions.

Bateman had no history of injuries in his three seasons at the University of Minnesota, where played every game in 2018 and 2019 before opting out after five games last season.

“The future is bright, and this is just a small bump in the road,” Bateman posted Wednesday on Instagram. “My eyes are set on getting right back to help this team. Be back soon.”

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