OWINGS MILLS - The Ravens lost top tight end Dennis Pitta to a season-ending injury earlier in training camp. Now, they'll be without the primary player being counted on to fill Pitta's void in the offense for an unclear amount of time.
An MRI exam revealed a slight tear in the hamstring that tight end Ed Dickson injured during Sunday's practice at the Naval Academy.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh made it clear that Dickson is expected back by the start of the regular season, but he said Dickson will be held out of action for at least a week.
"It's going to be a matter of time, but it's not going to be a long time," Harbaugh said.
But the injury is one that will bear watching.
With Pitta out, Dickson has emerged as one of the most important figures in Baltimore's passing game.
Dickson had just 21 catches last season, but he's had a strong training camp to this point and is expected to play a primary role in Baltimore's passing game this season in the wake of Pitta's injury.
At the very least, Dickson will miss the Ravens' preseason opener Thursday night, and it appears likely that he could miss the preseason altogether.
But Harbaugh said Monday that Baltimore doesn't have plans to add another tight end at this point, although he didn't rule out the possibility that the Ravens could bring in another tight end after the game Thursday.
"We have enough tight ends for Thursday for sure," Harbaugh said. "We'll be fine. Then, we [might] have to address it there depending on how we get out of the game."
With Dickson out, veteran Billy Bajema and recent free-agent addition Visanthe Shiancoe are the top two tight ends on Baltimore's depth chart.
Alex Silvestro and undrafted rookie Matt Furstenburg are the only other tight ends on the Ravens' roster at this point, although it's possible that versatile rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk could see some time at tight end during the preseason, especially with Dickson sidelined.
NOTES: Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice left practice with an ankle injury Monday and didn't return, but Harbaugh said Rice merely turned the ankle and should be fine. ... Safety James Ihedigbo returned to practice Monday after injuring his neck near the end of practice Friday and sitting out Sunday.