Photo: Sabina Moran/PressBox

The Ravens’ offseason is particularly unforgiving this year.

Veteran starting quarterback Joe Flacco will be sidelined for the start of training camp with a disc issue in his back, the NFL Network reported late last night. The development comes on the eve of the team’s first full training camp practice today, which means Flacco will be spending the first formative days of the franchise’s 2017 campaign away from the gridiron.

The news of his injury arrived just a day after the team lost starting running back Kenneth Dixon to a season-ending meniscus tear. Also gone now are former Pro Bowl tight end Dennis Pitta, who was released last month after dislocating his hip for the third time in four years, and cornerback Tavon Young to an ACL injury. To make matters worse, tight end Darren Waller was suspended for the entire upcoming season in late June for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

While the NFL Network was told the recovery timetable is 3-6 weeks, a report from ESPN is more optimistic, estimating a one-week turnaround that would let him take the field while camp is still in session. The latter outlet reports the injury happened while he was lifting weights.

Flacco’s absence should give second-string quarterback Ryan Mallett some time to shine. The Ravens picked him up at the end of the 2015 season, and decided to keep him on earlier this year, signing him to a one-year contract extension. He’s played in six games with the franchise over the last two seasons, compiling a total of 592 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Those who want to see what’s left of the Ravens at training camp can watch them at a free, open practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night, and again the following Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

The Ravens play their first preseason games against Washington on Aug. 10 here in Baltimore.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...