The Ravens suffered their first serious injury of the 2016 season on Thursday.
Rookie defensive end Bronson Kaufusi broke his ankle while battling in the trenches with a teammate. The injury occurred during a pass play when Kaufusi made his way into the backfield. Kaufusi’s leg was stepped on and his ankle collapsed. He was carted off of the field.
The severity of the injury was revealed after practice when Ravens head coach John Harbaugh met with reporters.
“He has a broken ankle,” Harbaugh said. “One of our players fell on his leg. That happens, you try to avoid that but sometimes guys fall. I’m sure that he will be out for the year.”
Kaufusi was the Ravens’ 2016 third round draft pick out of Brigham Young. In his short NFL career, the injury bug has already bitten him multiple times; Kaufusi missed the offseason program with a back problem. He was only seven training camp practices into his rookie season that is now lost.
The good news is that the Ravens have plenty of depth along the defensive line. The Ravens had planned to use Kaufusi in pass rush situations, but they still have plenty of defensive ends that can fill that role, including Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Kapron-Lewis Moore, and Carl Davis.
A roster move has not been made yet, but the Ravens will likely place Kaufusi on injured reserve. A new injured reserve rule was put into place this offseason that allows every NFL team to activate a single player off of injured reserve once per season. If the Ravens come to find that Kaufusi is able to get back on the field quicker than expected, the Ravens could bring him back. However, considering Harbaugh sounded confident that the injury is season-ending, that situation appears unlikely.