Despite returning to practice only Wednesday from a torn Achilles in April, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is targeting and expecting to play Sunday versus the Houston Texans, according to league sources.
Sources said that even Suggs' family and friends have plans to travel to Houston in anticipation of watching him stage one of the quickest returns from this type of significant injury by any athlete.
"Yes, that's still the plan," one source texted Thursday.
However, when asked whether he would play Sunday, Suggs said Thursday afternoon that there's no definitive plan in place for him to play.
A source told ESPN's Ed Werder that a final decision on Suggs' playing status won't be made until later this weekend.
"If it didn't come from coach (John) Harbaugh or myself, it's not a credible source. There's no plan in place, take it day by day," he said. "We'll decide Sunday what's best for the team. Right now, we're just feeling it out. Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there."
Baltimore still wants to make sure there are no setbacks this week, especially Thursday, when Suggs returns to the training facility after his first day of practice since last season. Plus, Suggs appears to have added weight during his layoff that he may try to shed in coming weeks, the source said.
The five-time Pro Bowler acknowledged Thursday that a quick return could push back his recovery.
"That's always a concern," Suggs said. "That's why I've got the people around me that I trust. We're going to make the decision as a group, whether it would be better for me to sit out or suit up."
Harbaugh continually has declined to put a timetable on Suggs' return, and many have believed it would be mid-November.
Before this season, Suggs had played in all 16 games in eight of his nine NFL seasons, missing three games in 2009 with a knee injury. If he is able to return Sunday, it would be a big boost to a Ravens defense that lost its inspirational leader, linebacker Ray Lewis, to a torn triceps and top cornerback Lardarius Webb to a knee injury last week.
Harbaugh, however, cautioned Wednesday that the team wasn't expecting too much too soon from Suggs, who was named the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after a 14-sack season.
"To what extent, to what he's able to do, I think we should temper our expectations a little bit," Harbaugh said. "He's coming off a very serious injury. I think he's worked really hard. He's done a great job with the rehab, he's followed protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal."
How much do the Ravens miss Suggs? Last season through Week 6, the Ravens held opposing quarterbacks to a Total QBR of 37.5 and a completion rate of 51.4 percent when sending four or fewer pass-rushers. This season, opposing quarterbacks have a Total QBR of 86.2 and are completing 69.3 percent of their passes when the Ravens send four or fewer rushers. In the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Suggs led the Ravens with 25.0 sacks, which was the fifth-most sacks in the NFL during that span.
In an interview with ESPN Radio's "Scott Van Pelt Show" on Thursday, Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger said Suggs has "looked real strong in practice."
"Everybody was talking about how serious this kind of injury is and how long it takes and everything. But the way he's been putting in his hours in the treatment room and rehabbing, he's just come such a far way in a short amount of time, and he looks good and looks fast," Kruger said. "I honestly don't know what he's going to do, but he's looking good. We'll see if it's this week or next (that he returns)."
The NFL also is reviewing whether Ravens safety Ed Reed should have been on the team's injury report after Reed acknowledged earlier this week that he has a torn labrum in his shoulder, according to sources. The Ravens have argued it's a non-issue as Reed has never received treatment for the injury.
Information from ESPN's Ed Werder, ESPN Stats & Info and The Associated Press was used in this report.