Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta could return to the field for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Pitta has been sidelined since July after undergoing hip surgery for an injury sustained on the second day of training camp.
Pitta has stuck to a strict rehabilitation regimen and the team is “hopeful” for his return this week.
“I’m pretty hopeful that he can play on Sunday,” head coach John Harbaugh told reporters. “I think it’s going to be a matter of how ready he is to play and how healthy he is to play. Something like that. All of the doctors are going to be involved. The health of the player comes first. That’s the number one thing – his ability to withstand the rigors of a game. I think we’re on track that way. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Pitta returned to the practice field in mid-November after almost four months of recovery. The team does not have to make a decision on whether or not to put Pitta on the active roster until December 11, but it seems as though the team is optimistic.
After being evaluated by specialists on Tuesday, Pitta came back to Baltimore to join the team for the remainder of this week’s practices. It is likely that Pitta will be more involved in practice this week, with a chance of playing time on Sunday.
Without a doubt, the Ravens offense could greatly benefit from Pitta’s return, especially in the red zone. The Ravens have been forced to kick the field goal majority of the time in the opposing team’s territory. Last season, Pitta caught nine passes within the 20 yard-line, seven of which were converted for touchdowns.
In addition, 29 of Pitta’s 61 catches last season were on third down. Converting on third down is something the Ravens have struggled with this season. Throwing Pitta into the mix could help the team’s third down efficiency.
A decision will be made later in the week on Pitta’s status for Sunday’s game.