The Baltimore Ravens are unsure exactly when tight end Dennis Pitta will return this season, and according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, they're also unsure if they'll get him back at all this season. Pitta is now off crutches, which is a good sign for his recovery from a hip injury suffered in training camp, but it's still too early along in his recovery to determine whether or not hell return.
Pitta is on injured reserve with the return designation, meaning he is eligible to rejoin the team after Week 8. Pitta dislocated his hip in the first contact practice of training camp, but did not suffer cartilage or ligament damage, which takes the injury from a guaranteed loss of a season to an outside chance of returning before the playoffs.
Of course, Pitta won't be ready to return at the eight-week mark, regardless. He won't count toward the 53-man roster until the Ravens deem him ready, but it would likely be closer to the end of the regular season for his return if he can at all. It seems like the ideal situation would have him back just before the playoffs, seeing enough regular season action to shake off some of the rust.
All of that is, of course, speculation. The Ravens definitely miss Pitta, who was the team's leading tight end last season with 61 receptions for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. Pitta's injury came shortly after the team traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin, which has put them in a tough position on the receiving end. Torrey Smith currently leads the team with 435 yards and a touchdown, while rookie receiver Marlon Brown leads the team with three touchdowns.