Baltimore Ravens star tight end Dennis Pitta was able to practice every day this past week, but both Pitta and the Ravens are taking the cautious route with his hip injury. Although Pitta has made significant progress and there was some optimism that he would be able to play in today’s game against the New York Jets, Pitta will not be out there today, because the Ravens did not activate him off of the short-term injured reserve list ahead of yesterday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
It was never realistic to project Pitta to play in today’s game, but there are reports circling around that Pitta will be able to return for next week’s Thanksgiving Day game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though it’s a short week, there is some optimism, because the game against the Steelers is even more important than today’s game against the Jets. The Ravens are in the heat of the battle for the sixth seed in the AFC, and both the Jets and Steelers are staunch competition. The Jets may be one win better than the Ravens and Steelers, but the Steelers are also a bitter rival in the Ravens division.
According to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson, Dennis Pitta has made plenty of progress and looked good at practice running routes and hauling in passes, but the “best-case scenario” still has Pitta returning for the Week 14 game against the Minnesota Vikings. I would be shocked if he isn’t back by then, but it sounds like we need to temper our expectations when it comes to Pitta returning on a short week and playing against the Steelers. The Ravens want to take the prudent route with Pitta, but there is little doubt that he would be a huge asset for this team. Pitta is an excellent, versatile receiving TE who has Joe Flacco’s full trust, and he would clearly help this Ravens offense out an awful lot. Keep a close eye on his status going forward, but know that he isn’t expected to return until Week 14, though there is no reason to give up hope for a Week 13 return.
Aaron Wilson also reports that key starting linebacker Daryl Smith will start in today’s game against the Jets despite being listed questionable, so that’s obviously fantastic news for the Ravens. Star CB Lardarius Webb will also start (his abdomen injury was very minor), and defensive lineman Haloti Ngata is expected to play as well.