WESTMINSTER — Baltimore Ravens starting wide receiver Mark Clayton could be sidelined for as long as a few weeks, in his estimation, while he recovers from an injured left hamstring.
Clayton hasn’t been practicing for the past two days after tweaking his hamstring Sunday morning at McDaniel College.
“Realistically, I don’t know,” Clayton said when asked about the timetable for his return. “A couple of weeks, I don’t know. Just as it goes.”
The fifth-year wide receiver tweaked his left hamstring and was carted off the field during Sunday morning’s practice. Clayton was adamant that he hasn’t torn the hamstring, which is the same one that has bothered him off and on since entering the NFL.
Clayton is taking precautions with his hamstring injury while he’s not practicing and does not believe that he should return before he is fully healed.
“It’s sensitive,” said Clayton. “We know right now it is preseason and we know how important it is. I’m taking it day by day. But, at the same time, to not be able to do anything, especially as a receiver, to not be able to run full speed and show speed, it limits you, and will limit our offense.”
And Clayton realizes the significance of his recovery considering that the team needs him on the field.
“I want to get back out as soon as possible because it’s so important to get reps on the field,” Clayton said. “I mean the practice is pretty much where you build your chemistry and you build whatever it is you’re trying to work toward, of course, offensively. So, I’m just doing the little things to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
The former first-round pick out of Oklahoma finished second on the team with 41 receptions for 695 yards and three touchdowns last year.
He’s headed into this season with 200 career receptions for 2,636 total receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.
Since he’s been sidelined, Clayton has witnessed Demetrius Williams move up as the Ravens’ second wideout behind veteran Derrick Mason. And it’s doesn’t bother him to see Williams and some of the other younger guys gain more reps on the field since his injury.
Clayton uses his time off the field to aid them with his veteran knowledge.
“I mean I want our younger guys to be better than me,” Clayton said. “That’s the goal for everybody to get better than whomever it is that’s in front of them.
“So when I’m out, I’m trying to help someone else get better at whatever it is that they are doing, and likewise someone will be trying to help me. And that’s just what we do as a team and how we grow as a team.”
Daniel Henderson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times.