pitta3For the first time since a scary fracture and dislocation of his hip during the first week of training camp threatened to derail not only most of his season, but his career as well, fourth-year tight end Dennis Pitta returns to practice this afternoon.

Joe Flacco‘s favorite target and security blanket had been on the injured reserve with designation to return list, and now is eligible to practice for three weeks before the Ravens have to make the decision to add him to the 53-man roster.

That decision will be an interesting one for both Pitta and the team.

While the Ravens are excited to get the tight end back into an offense that has struggled with Flacco trying and mostly underperforming to carry an offense, the tight end is a restricted free agent and becomes a free agent at season’s end.

The injury may have hurt his chances of a huge pay day via the Ravens after a break out 2012 season, posting career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns.

How long it takes Pitta to get comfortable in the offense and feeling healthy on the field after a hip injury, no one knows, but with the team sitting at 4-6, it brings an interesting debate on what to do as the Ravens cling to any semblance of hope in the AFC playoff picture.

Update: Dennis Pitta spoke with the media and Aaron Wilson tweeted this out a short time ago:

The combined statistics for Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson haven’t been pretty, recording just 39 catches for 451 yards and three touchdowns.

Could Pitta return and show some of his 2012 form to garner a pay day from the Ravens going into 2014?