Dennis Pitta 'closer than ever' to returning

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said tight end Dennis Pitta is "closer than ever" to returning.

Pitta suffered a dislocated hip July 27 and needed surgery to repair it. Initially believed to be a season-ending injury, the Ravens placed Pitta on the injured reserve-designated for return list.

He is now eligible to return whenever he's healthy enough to play.

"Everything I've been told is that he's on schedule," Harbaugh said Wednesday. "But I still think it's pretty vague and generic. We're getting close to that date. I'm interested to hear when he can start practicing again. I've been asking that question. I haven't gotten a 'yes' yet. But he's closer than ever. I have my fingers crossed just like everybody else does."

Pitta had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and caught another three touchdowns in the playoffs.

Without Pitta, the Ravens have received inconsistent production from their tight ends. Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson have combined for 32 catches for 375 yards and two touchdowns.

The tight ends have been almost nonexistent recently. Over the past two games, the Ravens' tight ends have totaled seven catches for 43 yards and one touchdown.