Freeman likely to start as injuries hit Ravens’ RBs

NFL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Devonta Freeman is expected to be the latest running back to start for the Baltimore Ravens as injuries once again hit their backfield.

Latavius Murray (sprained left ankle) was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after not practicing this week. A starter for the past three games, he leads the Ravens running backs with 212 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Now, Freeman could get his first start in nearly a year (Week 7 of last season). A two-time Pro Bowl runner (2015-16), Freeman has gained 95 yards on 16 carries this season (a 5.9-yard average).

“He’s doing a nice job for us,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a downhill, explosive, accelerating-type runner with some size.”

Injuries have wreaked havoc on Baltimore’s backfield all season. The Ravens’ top two backs — J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards — suffered season-ending knee injuries just weeks before the start of the regular season. Justice Hill became Baltimore’s third running back to sustain a season-ending injury before the season opener when he tore his Achilles.

The Ravens’ tough luck with injuries has even hit Murray, who had only missed one game in the previous four seasons. Murray sprained his left ankle toward the end of the third quarter in Sunday’s 34-6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Baltimore’s running backs on Sunday are Freeman, Le’Veon Bell and Ty’Son Williams.

The Ravens (5-1) are playing the Bengals (4-2) for first place in the AFC North. Baltimore has been dominant in running the ball against Cincinnati over the past two years, averaging 244 yards per game on the ground against the Bengals.

Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was also ruled out. This marks the second straight week that Watkins is sidelined.

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