Harbaugh: Pitta is 'closer' to returning

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The only question about the Baltimore Ravens' roster heading into Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is the status of tight end Dennis Pitta.

He practiced for the second straight week and remains on the injured reserve-designated for return list. If the Ravens want to activate him, they'll have to do so by 4 p.m. Thursday, which is 4 1/2 hours before kickoff.

"He's closer," coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "Yes, he is. Dennis Pitta is closer."

Asked whether Pitta will play, Harbaugh said, "He's closer. Yes, he is. He's closer."

A reporter asked Harbaugh whether the team would have to activate Pitta on Wednesday or Thursday. The fact that Harbaugh didn't know could be construed that the Ravens have no plans to put Pitta on the active roster.

If Pitta does play Thursday, the advantage will be that he has 10 days to rest before having to play again. Pitta dislocated his hip on July 27 and was placed on IR-designated for return just before the start of the regular season.

The Ravens have another week to decide whether to activate him or keep him on IR, which would end his season.