The Ravens' worst fears with tight end Dennis Pitta were confirmed Saturday night.
The fourth-year tight end will miss the entire season after suffering a dislocated hip during training camp practice.
"Dennis is out for the year," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. "It's the type of thing that he's not going to be able to come back from this year. There's enough damage in there to preclude that."
Pitta underwent surgery Saturday night to put his hip back into place, and the team is awaiting medical results to determine any other damage. He reportedly also fractured his hip.
"Dennis is resting comfortably now at the hospital," Harbaugh said. "He had the surgery last night, which is basically just to put the hip back in place because there was a little fragment that didn't allow them to put the hip back into place without going in there.
"We're in the process of getting the MRI now. We know it's a dislocated hip. That's really all we know at this point. We don't know the extent of any other damage."
Regardless of what the medical tests reveal, Harbaugh made it clear that the team does not expect Pitta to be able to play in 2013. Harbaugh said that the Ravens would not use the Injured Reserve – Designated To to Return distinction on Pitta, which is what the team used on Ray Lewis last season to allow him to come back for the playoffs. That means Pitta's recovery will take longer than five months.
The injury comes at a horrible time for Pitta, who was scheduled to play this season as a restricted free agent. Pitta signed a second-round restricted free agent tender worth $2.023 million, and the Ravens had expressed interest in signing him to a long-term deal before the season. Pitta is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and likely won't get as big a payday as he would have with an anticipated boost in production with Anquan Boldin gone.
Pitta reached out to fans on his Facebook page to ask for support.
"Asking for prayers for a speedy recovery and heal time as I go through this ordeal," Pitta wrote. "Ravens will always be Ravens and if it turns out that I am out for the season I have confidence for other teammates to step up and do their part. Keep the faith!"
While the injury is serious enough to knock Pitta out for this season, Harbaugh did not expect it to be career-threatening.
"It would be really, really rare if it was something that he couldn't be back next year on," Harbaugh said. "I can't give you the final determination because we're waiting for the MRI, but there's been no word of anything like that."
Losing Pitta is a significant blow to the Ravens offense. He was one of quarterback Joe Flacco's safety nets and most dependable wideouts. Pitta had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last year, and he added 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason.
Fellow fourth-year tight end Ed Dickson is next up to replace Pitta as the starting tight end. The team also signed veteran , who will compete for the No. 2 spot, to a one-year contract on Sunday.
The other tight ends on the roster are Billy Bajema, Alex Silvestro and Matt Furstenburg.