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Ravens TE Dennis Pitta not activated for tonight's game vs. the Steelers

As expected, the Ravens didn't activate tight end Dennis Pitta from the injured-reserve designated list to return heading into tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens had until 4 p.m. to do so for Pitta to eligible, but that was never their intention and there was no drama surrounding the decision heading into the NFL deadline.

The plan remains the same for the Ravens as it's been since Pitta first returned to practice last week: to activate him heading into a Dec. 8 game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to sources.

That marks the end of a three-week window mandating that Pitta either join the active roster or be placed on season-ending injured reserve. He underwent surgery on his right hip after fracturing and dislocating it during a training camp practice in July when he got tangled up with strong safety James Ihedigbo on an end-zone pass and landed awkwardly on his hip.

Under this scenario, Pitta would be available to play in the final four games of the regular season. On Wednesday, coach John Harbaugh said Pitta was "closer" to returning.

Pitta has made excellent progress, but it's not a lock that he would play or do much if he did play against the Vikings, necessarily. The Ravens do want to have him active by that game, so they can potentially play him in that game or the following week against the Detroit Lions.

Pitta has been participating in individual drills for the past two weeks, catching passes before and after practice. He's looked sharp running routes, planting and cutting without any apparent difficulty.

By all accounts, including Pitta, he's come around quickly.

awilson@baltsun.com

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