Tight end Dennis Pitta will return to the field, and he may play in games this season.
Pitta will practice Wednesday for the first time since Organized Team Activities in late-May and June. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list due to his second major hip injury at the start of training camp on Sept. 1, meaning he sat out all of training camp, the preseason and first six regular-season games.
Pitta is eligible to play Monday night in Arizona, but can also practice for up to three weeks before he must either be activated to the 53-man roster or be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Pitta doesn't take up a roster spot until he's activated to the 53-man roster. When that happens, it will be a good indication that he will play in his first game this season.
Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated that it would be a stretch to expect Pitta to return this Monday. He still needs to get into football shape after such a long layoff.
"We'll see how it goes. I wouldn't make too much of it, especially for this week," Harbaugh said. "Don't get carried away. Probably the bigger thing is how he feels today, but how he feels tomorrow and the next day and the day after that after practicing."
Harbaugh didn't comment on whether Pitta has been technically cleared by doctors, saying he'll leave the details up to Pitta to talk about. He said the decision on whether he'll suit up for a game is still up to Pitta and his family.
For now, it's a feel-good story just to see Pitta back playing football. There were questions about whether he would return to the game at all after suffering his second major hip injury in as many years last season.
On Sept. 21, 2014, Pitta fell to the turf without being touched and fractured and dislocated his hip for the second time.
"I'm happy for Dennis. I'm happy he can get out here and do what he loves to do," Harbaugh said.
"When you've put the kind of work he's put in, and you see what he's done every single day, and then you see him out here at our walk-through, you could just tell how he was feeling about it. Wherever it goes, we'll see, but I was really uplifted for him being out here."
It's been a long road of rehab, conversations with doctors and his family for Pitta. Through it all, Pitta has remained optimistic about playing this season.
"I knew I would make an attempt to come back," Pitta told BaltimoreRavens.com in May. "This is what I love to do. Injuries are part of this game and you have to try to overcome them the best you can. You always want to leave this game on your own terms."
Pitta would provide another offensive weapon to an offense that could use more. The Ravens already have a deep and talented tight end corps, however, as they went about business this offseason as if Pitta would not be back.
One of the Ravens' best pass catchers this season has been starting tight end Crockett Gillmore, who has 13 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He's caught 72 percent of passes that have come his way and is averaging 45.3 yards per game, second behind Steve Smith Sr.
Rookie tight ends Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle have also performed well when their numbers have been called.