The Ravens haven't completely ruled out the possibility, however slim, that starting tight end Dennis Pitta might potentially be able to return late in the season from a dislocated and fractured right hip.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh had previously said that Pitta would be unable to come back this season and wasn't even a candidate for the injured reserve-designated to return list, but altered that stance a bit Tuesday to at least factor in what still appears to be a medical long shot.
Pitta underwent surgery to repair the damage, including the removal of a small bone fragment, and he remains on the active roster. The reason why the Ravens now have some optimism about Pitta's outlook is that the injury is regarded as a relatively clean break with magnetic resonance exams revealing no cartilage or ligament damage.
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The Ravens are in no rush to make a final decision on Pitta, who wouldn't need to be placed on injured reserve-designated to return until the start of the regular season. Last season, the Ravens placed middle linebacker Ray Lewis on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a torn triceps. Then, Lewis returned in time for the playoffs and started every postseason game as the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers.
"It's not procedural," Harbaugh said. "We'll put him on IR when we're certain that he's out for the year. We know it's a serious injury, but when it came back that there was no ligament or cartilage damage, then that maybe gave us some hope. So, we're going to wait and see how that bone heals over the first five weeks since the injury and see where we're at."