The Ravens' offense has sputtered for much of the season and the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta to a hip injury before the season has a lot to do with that. He landed on injured reserve-designated to return, underwent surgery and began rehabbing.
On Wednesday, Pitta returned to practice and looked so good that there was speculation about him playing this Sunday. But the Ravens won't rush the third-year tight end back on the field, even as the team struggles to remain relevant in the AFC playoff race.
Now, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the hope is that Pitta can return in Week 14 vs. the Vikings, which means that not only will the Ravens be without him Sunday against the Jets, but also on Thanksgiving when they host the Steelers.
"You always have that concern, you don't want to come back too soon and put yourself at risk," Pitta said Friday, via the Sun. "We'll be smart with it and take it day by day and see how it goes. ... I feel great, I felt really good. It's amazing how quickly it can come back. I'm feeling strong, running well. Everything's been positive."
The Ravens' offense is 29th, according to Football Outsiders (23rd passing, 31st rushing), and tight ends Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson rank 34th and 37th, respectively. Also not helping quarterback Joe Flacco and the passing game: Trading Anquan Boldin to the 49ers in the offseason.
So, yes, the sooner Pitta gets back the better.