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Ravens TE Pitta eyes Sunday return

The SportsXchange

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh remains optimistic that tight end Dennis Pitta will be ready to play by Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Pitta underwent surgery in July after fracturing and dislocating his right hip during training camp. He reamins on injured reserve-designated to return, but could be activated later this week.

He is expected to do more in practice this week.

"It's going to be a matter of how ready he is to play and healthy he is to play," Harbaugh said. "Something like that, all the doctors are going to be involved. ... Those things are important things. The health of the player comes first. That's the No. 1 thing, his ability to withstand the rigors of a game. I think we're on track that way, but we'll just have to see how it plays out."

Pitta has been limited to individual drills since returning to practice Nov. 20.

"It's been tough," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "Two weeks ago when we were getting ready for the Jets, he was able to run some individual routes but nothing more than that. This past week, he wasn't really able to do anything besides what he would normally do on a rehab week. This week, we'll see. I'm sure he probably still feels a little weak and there are probably some things he has to feel his way through. He hasn't run a full-speed route against defenders in a long time, so you have to allow some adjustment time for that, so we'll see how it goes."

The Ravens have until Dec. 11 to officially activate Pitta to the 53-man roster or he'll go to season-ending injured reserve.

Pitta, 28, caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last season, adding 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs.

"He's got good body presence and a lot of things that he does well on his routes that gives you a good indicator," Flacco said. "He catches the ball. He runs well. He separates. There's a lot of things that he does well. I think, overall, he just helps your whole offense."
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