Notebook: Dennis Pitta's Expected Return


The bad news is confirmed; Dennis Pitta does have a broken bone in his right hand.

The Ravens tight end had an MRI Tuesday, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said it simply proved the initial diagnosis right.

"Just kind of what we thought yesterday, as it turns out," Harbaugh said. "We'll be shooting for the first regular-season game. If it's sooner than that, that'd be a bonus. That's what we're shooting for."

According to multiple news outlets, Pitta had surgery today. Harbaugh did not give any surgery update.

The recovery prognosis is reportedly four to six weeks, which would mean Pitta's in line to return for the Monday Night season-opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 10. That's six weeks away from yesterday, when Pitta suffered the injury.

Ed Dickson took all the snaps with the first-team offense on Tuesday, and Davon Drew moved into more of a prominent role as the No. 2. Rookie free agent tight ends Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins also got increased work.

Birk Will Get More Days Off

Center Matt Birk missed his second straight practice Tuesday, but get accustomed to him being on the sidelines. In his 15th season, Birk will increasingly get more time off.

"Matt is at the stage of his career where, probably, he is going to practice less than he is not going to practice," Harbaugh said. "I think that would be the best thing for Matt, getting him ready to go."

Birk has been very durable, and hasn't missed a start in six straight seasons, including three in Baltimore. But with Birk being 36 years old, the move should help him stay fresher.

It also gives rookie center Gino Gradkowski more snaps as he tries to grow into Birk's backup role.

"He has both of those [mental and physical] issues," Harbaugh said of Gradkowski. "He is learning technique. He is a young guy, physically. He is very smart, he is every tough. He is very competitive, kind of a tough-, mean-, nasty-type of guy. We like his style."

Pierce Out Again With Hamstring

Rookie running back Bernard Pierce has been battling hamstring injuries thus far in his short NFL* *career.

After a physical practice on Monday, Pierce was not on the field Tuesday and Harbaugh said he "had a little hamstring [issue]."

The third-round pick also missed some of minicamp because of a hamstring injury. Anthony Allen, Damien Berry and rookie free agent Bobby Rainey got more snaps in the battle for the backup job to Ray Rice.

Cundiff Has Toughest Day Yet

Incumbent kicker Billy Kicker had his worst day yet.

Cundiff missed three field goals (4-for-7) while rookie free agent Justin Tucker shanked just one (5-for-6). Cundiff had only missed two field goals total in the four practices heading into today.

Cundiff banged*one 50-yard attempt off the left crossbar. He pushed a 53-yarder wide right. Then he went wide left from 46 yards out *to cap the practice session.

Tucker missed far* *right on a 50-yard attempt. It's his second miss of camp.

"The ones they made went well, and the ones they didn't make didn't go so well," Harbaugh said before cracking a light joke. "That's kind of how you judge a field goal, basically."

The two kickers have been inserted into game-like situations throughout camp. They don't kick a string of consecutive field goals. They come out at the end of drives.

Harewood Practices For First Time

Offensive tackle Ramon Harewood got out to the practice field for the first time in training camp.

An ankle injury has kept Harewood away, but he stepped in to some*light *duty at right tackle.

Harewood spent the past two seasons on injured reserve due to knee injuries, and needs the reps to make the 53-man roster.

Defense Exacts Revenge On Offense

On Monday, Harbaugh told the defense that it was getting its [butt] kicked.

The units reversed the script the next day. It could have something to do with safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis returning to the field after taking the day off.

Lewis picked off Joe Flacco in the back of the end zone to finish one 11-on-11 drill. He also later burst up the middle to sack Flacco. Ed Reed got his hands on one Flacco pass, but didn't haul it in. Bernard Pollard intercepted Flacco on the very first play of the full-team drill.

Rookie cornerback Asa Jackson notched a pair of interceptions playing against the second- and third-team offense. Cornerback Chykie Brown picked off Curtis Painter as well.

The two sides were again fairly chippy under the hot sun. Rookies Gradkowski and Kelechi Osemele were mixing it up with nose tackle Terrence Cody and linebacker Jameel McClain, respectively. Defensive end Art Jones rocked Rice on a run play and got a few words from the Pro Bowler as they parted ways.

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