One is a veteran that has contributed many times in the past. The other is a young player that is simply looking to contribute for the first time.
Dennis Pitta is hoping to be able to return to the field for the Baltimore Ravens after suffering a season ending hip injury for the second consecutive year. Brent Urban is waiting to make his debut after being out since training camp with a torn biceps.
Pitta started the season on the physically unable to perform list and was moved to injured reserve with a return designation. The hip injury that Pitta suffered could have long term effects if he aggravates the injury a third time.
Whether or not Pitta comes back is a decision that will be made by the medical staff. Pitta has said that he wants to come back and the Ravens would welcome his return. John Harbaugh said that the team wants Pitta to make the decision with the help of the medical staff.
“The doctors are going to take a hard look and decide – help him decide – ‘Is this really safe?’ And it’s going to be based on how the hip is responding to the practices. Dennis is going to play if he can,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no doubt in my mind, based on what I’ve talked to him. If it’s safe and he feels like he can get out there and the hip is responding well, he’s going to play. And if it’s not safe, then he’s not going to play.”
The Ravens have until Wednesday to make a decision on whether Pitta goes back to the injured reserve list. Wednesday will mark the last day of the 21 day evaluation period in which Pitta has been able to practice and see if he can make his return.
The last day for Pitta comes during the same week that Urban makes his return to practice. The Ravens have had high hopes for Urban as they entered each of the last two seasons. Unfortunately, he has not been able to see much action.
The practices that Urban has during his trial period will be an opportunity to evaluate where his is as far as returning from injury. Coach Harbaugh placed a huge emphasis on the next few weeks for Urban.
“He has played maybe three or four weeks of training camp since he got here two years ago, so these are going to be really valuable practices for him,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have to see where he’s at – how he’s playing, how he’s moving, how the bicep responds to what he’s doing out there – and try to make a determination about whether he can help us or not.”
When healthy, Urban has flashed as a pass rusher. He was very disruptive for the Ravens defense during training camp. Urban would figure to mix into the rotation at defensive end if he is able to come back this season. The Ravens don’t truly know what they have in Urban because of how much time he has missed.
“He’s such a young player. We’re going to have to find out what kind of a player he is once he gets out there and gets going again,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to create problems, just because of his leverage and his size.”
Even though it was just a basic walkthrough, Urban was excited to get back on the football field. He said that he’s ready to contribute which is a much needed thing for a defense that has struggled to generate a pass rush.
“It’s been a long time coming. When the playing time does come, I think I can definitely make an impact. I was nervous, excited, a bunch of emotions,” Urban said of Monday’s practice. “Once I got out there, I settled down. It was just great to be around my coaches, teammates. It was just a great day.”
The Ravens will have 21 days to figure out if Urban is able to make his regular season debut this season.