Harbaugh hopeful Pitta can play against Vikings

Harbaugh hopeful Pitta can play against Vikings
December 4, 2013, 4:45 pm
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(Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Pitta could be in uniform Sunday for the first time this season, according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh. On Tuesday, Pitta was in New York being examined. He fractured his hip during training camp and underwent surgery, but he has continued to make steady progress. If all goes well this week, the Ravens will get their starting tight end back this weekend.

“I’m pretty hopeful that he can play Sunday,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to be just a matter of how ready he is to play and how healthy he is to play. With something like that, all the doctors are going to be involved. The health of the player comes first. That’s the No. 1 thing – his ability to withstand the rigors of the game."

Pitta could become an important figure for the Ravens during the stretch run, particularly on third down and in the red zone. Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 yards during the 2012 regular season, and followed that with a superb four-game run during the playoffs. Flacco and Pitta enjoy terrific chemistry.

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“He’s got good body presence and a lot of things that he does well in his routes that give you a good indicator,” Flacco said. “He catches the ball, he runs well, (and) he separates.”

Flacco described how Pitta has progressed since returning to practice two weeks ago.

“When we were getting ready for the Jets, he was able to run some individual routes, but nothing more than that,” Flacco said. “This week, we’ll see. I’m sure he probably still feels a little weak, and there are probably some things he is going to have to feel himself through. He hasn’t run a full-speed route against defenders in a long time, so you have to allow some adjustment time for that. So we’ll see how it goes.”

The Ravens have until Dec. 11 to activate Pitta from the injured reserve – designated to return list. But if Pitta has a good week of practice, he could get the green light to play Sunday.