Dressed in a hospital patient's gown and riding in a wheelchair, injured Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta arrived at a Halloween party Monday night in a costume that winked and nodded at his career-threatening hip injury, even if the long-term prognosis of the injury is still unclear.
Pitta, who suffered his second fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons last month against the Cleveland Browns, said doctors are not yet able to tell whether the injury would prevent him from returning to the football field.
"It's tough," Pitta said. "I have to be patient right now, I have to let myself heal and take it one day at a time and begin my rehab and work hard doing that when I can. It's a tough process and something, unfortunately, I have been through before and will get through again.
"In a few months, we'll see how I'm feeling and how things are going, and we'll be able to make some determinations then. It's still too early to kind of tell, and I'll continue on like I did last year and get myself ready to get back on the field."
Pitta spoke at the Goodwill Gridiron Halloween Party, which he hosted with kicker Justin Tucker, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, and long snapper Kevin McDermott at Dave & Buster's in Arundel Mills.
More than 600 guests were expected for the event, which benefited Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake and featured a silent auction, games, and a costume contest judged by Pitta and his teammates.
Pitta, of course, was fond of his own costume. His wife, Mataya, dressed as his nurse, and their young son, Decker, wore a white doctor's coat.
"This is very circumstantial-appropriate right now. I'm wheelchair-ridden and on crutches, so I'm playing off that a little bit," Pitta said.
Pitta injured his hip in Week 3, and he underwent successful surgery the next day in Cleveland. He suffered the same injury during training camp before last season. He missed the first 12 games in 2013 before returning to make 20 catches in four games, and then signed a five-year, $32 million contract in the offseason.
The natural healing process will determine whether Pitta will be able to play out the rest of that contract.
"With an injury like this, I think there's always doubt and there's always uncertainty," Pitta said. "That was the case last year. I didn't know if I'd be able to make the full recovery and get back on the field, and it'll be the same this time. It's a pretty serious injury, and something that takes time to heal and something that has to heal correctly in order to get back out there. So I'm being patient, we'll see when that time comes."
Pitta still has a few weeks of rest before he's able to begin active rehabilitation, but the first few months after his surgery require simply letting the hip heal naturally. When he can rehab, he said he'll do so as if he'll be back on the field next year.
He said he expects to start spending time around the team once his rehab starts, though he has been impressed with his teammates' play during the first half of the season.
But that doesn't make watching them on Sundays any easier.
"Whenever you suffer an injury, especially the one that I have, it's always tough," Pitta said. "It's tough mentally, it's tough physically. It's certainly frustrating because I felt like I was back where I needed to be after last year. It's part of the game, though.