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Dennis Pitta has to be at 'elite' level to return to playing field

Pitta spoke to reporters after being cleared to practice for the first time since fracturing and dislocating his hip.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens sure could use tight end Dennis Pitta on offense this week.

But in all likelihood, that won't happen. Pitta, who dislocated and fractured his hip during training camp, returned to practice Wednesday, to the delight of his teammates. Time will tell when Pitta is able to get back into game action, though this certainly seems to be a case where he'll be eased back in.

Pitta spoke to reporters Wednesday and here's a transcript of what he had to say, courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens' public relations staff:

On what it means to get back on the football field: "It feels awesome to be able to get back, be in meetings with the guys and hit the field a little bit. I feel great. I'm going to take it slow, make sure I can integrate myself back in, and I'm feeling good."

On if he thought he would return this year: "That was always the plan, and I had no setbacks in my rehab and treatment. Everything has been going well. We've been working hard, and [I'm] excited to get a little taste of football again."

On what level of health he needs to get back on the field: "I've got to be able to play at an elite level; that's what it takes to play in this league. We'll see how the next few weeks go, how I progress, and how I'm doing on the field. [I'm] not sure as of right now of that timetable."

On how frustrating it is to watch from the sidelines: "It's tough. It's really hard to watch and not be able to contribute to be with your team. Being injured - it's tough. It's a long journey and process getting back. Fortunately, I've got most of that behind me and I can get back on the field and be with the team a little bit more."

On how much he's been able to test his injury so far: "I've stayed true to the rehab and done everything that I've been asked to do. Obviously, I haven't had any contact or live contact of any kind. Things like that you can't simulate outside of the football field. I'll do what I can, take it slow and make sure we're smart about it so that I'm ready to go when that time comes."

On how mentally taxing the injury was: "It's always tough, mentally, to be out of it. You've just got to stay focused on what you're doing, stay focused on your rehab and stay focused on each day. [I'm] getting a little bit stronger and a little bit better. That's what I've been doing."

On how well he can run right now: "I'll be out there running a little bit today. I'll be doing some of the beginning parts of practice. I'm running well, otherwise I wouldn't be trying to get out there. We're going to be smart with it, and I'm feeling good and confident."

On what he'll be able to bring to the offense: "If I'm able to contribute at some point this year, I want to make sure I'm playing within myself and doing my job. That's all I can do."

On playing this week: "I'll focus on today, see how today feels and how I feel actually putting a helmet back on."

On if being in the final year of his contract will affect his comeback: "It's not something I've thought about. Obviously, it's a part of this business, but I'm focused on helping our team win and doing what I can do to get back and contribute."