The team has put no official timetable on his return, although the hope is that he can participate in training camp, which opens at the end of July. Harbaugh plans to bring Smith back slowly, having him only run routes during camp. He does not plan to let him play during the preseason, hoping that he will be ready for regular-season games.
The decision to rest Smith Sr. is a wise one by the Ravens because the team knows what it will get out of the veteran with his fiery attitude on the field and with the 2016 season possibly being his last, there really isn't any reason to think that Smith Sr. won't give it his all.
From another standpoint, the Ravens have depth at the wide receiver position and the preseason is a critical time to see young receivers like Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, Keenan Reynolds, Michael Campanaro and Jeremy Butler get a chance to see what they can really do.
While the preseason helps starters get in game shape, it is even more important for players in the middle of the depth chart to get playing time because, in some cases, their number won't be called as often during the regular season.