The Ravens' offense took a significant hit this afternoon when tight end Dennis Pitta was carted off the practice field with a dislocated hip, according to multiple media reports.
Pitta suffered the injury in a collision with safety James Ihedigbo, and coach John Harbaugh told reporters that he will miss at least the Sept. 5 season opener at Denver.
The 28-year-old Pitta is entering his fourth season in the NFL. Last season, he set career highs in receptions (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdown catches (seven). He tied for second on the team in catches, ranked third in receiving yards and second in touchdown receptions in 2012.
Making it a more significant loss is the fact that the Ravens traded wideout Anquan Boldin this offseason and didn't add a veteran receiver. Tight end Ed Dickson will likely need to fill a greater pass-catching role behind Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and any younger receivers able to emerge, as he did in 2011.
Update: Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell spoke with the media about Pitta's injury after practice today.
Harbaugh revealed the nature of the injury and the grim outlook.
"Dennis has a dislocated hip. So we'll have to take a look at that and see exactly what it is," Harbaugh told reporters. "It's a situation; it's a serious injury. He is going to be out for a while. He will not be in the Denver game. We will just have to play it from there to see how long it goes. I don't really have the numbers of the weeks right now, but we will just have to see, and we will know more tomorrow."
Caldwell acknowledged it was scary to see one of the team's top players go down like that.
"Obviously, he has been a very, very productive guy for us," Caldwell told reporters. "He's made a lot of big plays around here, and hopefully, we'll ... I know John announced his injury, but we'll see what happens and how long (he's out). Somebody is going to have to step up, and we do have some capable guys all across the flanks. We do have some weapons, and we're just going to have to have some guys make some plays for us."
As for who that can be, Dickson is at the forefront.
"Ed has been playing and performing extremely well. He's had a good camp thus far," Caldwell said. "He certainly ended up the spring in great shape. He's moving well, he's catching the ball for us, and he has a lot of big-play potential.
"Obviously, those two guys were a very talented tandem to have. But Ed is a very capable guy, and I'm certain that ... You can't go into a ballgame with just one, so we're going to have to have some other guys step up as well."
Update II: And the news just keep getting worse for Pitta and the Ravens.
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Pitta is expected to be miss the entire 2013 season with the dislocated hip.
That removes one of quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite and most consistent targets from the mix less than a week into training camp, leaving the Ravens without one of their best weapons.
Dickson was productive in 2011 with 54 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns. Whether that pedigree is enough to keep Baltimore from looking to add another receiver or tight end remains to be seen. But Pitta's loss will be felt, especially if Dickson, Jones and others are unable to provide Flacco with reliable receiving options.