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Dennis Pitta, Other Key Players Return To Practice


The Ravens had some welcomed additions back on the practice field Saturday morning. 

Tight ends Dennis Pitta (finger) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed), defensive tackle Brandon Williams (undisclosed), offensive lineman John Urschel (contusion) and safety Kendrick Lewis (undisclosed) all returned after missing recent time with injuries.

Pitta's return is perhaps the most significant, especially after the season-ending Achilles injury to tight end Benjamin Watson. Pitta looked like he might be in line for a starting job before breaking his finger in a practice fight with rookie Kamalei Correa, and then missing the entire preseason.

Pitta hasn't played a game since Sept. 21, 2014, and two major hip injuries have limited him to just seven games the last three seasons. But the Ravens liked what they saw from Pitta when he returned to action at the start of training camp, and he showed the ability to quickly re-gain his chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco.

Pitta didn't show any ill effects from the broken finger when catching passes in Saturday's practice. He had a red non-contact jersey pinnie tucked into his shorts, but never put it on. If Pitta's finger is fully healed, then he could find himself in the starting lineup for the opener against Buffalo.

"He looked fine today," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Certainly, he has to get his timing back and work the rust off, if you want to use that term, and get going. He's back today, and he'll be back all next week, and I expect him to be ready to go."

Having Urschel back is also good news for the offense, as he was the starting left guard before getting hurt in the first preseason game. Since that injury, rookie fourth-round pick Alex Lewis has moved into the starting lineup at left guard, and it's unclear whether the Ravens will stick with the rookie going into Week 1.

"That is something we have to consider," Harbaugh said earlier in the week when asked about Lewis getting the starting nod.

The return of Williams and Lewis is also a step in the right direction for the defense. Williams had not practiced since the third preseason game, and Lewis missed the final three preseason contests. Williams is the team's anchor in the middle of the defensive line and Lewis provides quality depth behind the starting safeties.

Players still dealing with injury concerns are outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil (offseason foot procedure) and Za'Darius Smith (undisclosed), defensive tackle Carl Davis (ankle), and cornerback Shareece Wright (undisclosed) and Jerraud Powers (undisclosed) who all didn't practice.

There were also several players on the roster bubble not at practice, including wide receivers Michael Campanaro and Chris Matthews, outside linebacker Victor Ochi, offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and De'Ondre Wesley.

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