Three weeks away from the first weekend of the NFL season, injured tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are on the mend and optimistic that they will be ready for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pitta broke his right hand during practice July 30. Dickson sprained his right shoulder while hauling in a touchdown pass in a 31-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason opener.
"It's much better, a lot better," Dickson said. "I can actually do some catching and stuff, and more conditioning. The progress is definitely pretty good. Hopefully I can get back there in a week or so. I'll do anything possible to get out there for the season opener. I don't want to miss those. I want to play [now], but I'm glad I still have these preseason games to get healthy."
Dickson and Pitta attended Sunday's open training camp practice at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, but neither was in uniform. They haven't practiced since sustaining their injuries, but they have been doing conditioning work to stay in shape. As Dickson said, he has been catching passes. That's something Pitta can't do with a broken hand, and there is no timetable for when he can start doing so again.
"With the hand, you've got to let the bone heal," said Pitta, who is frustrated by having to be a spectator during the preseason. "We're being smart with it and making sure that we're doing all we can at the proper time. If we prepare right, we'll be ready to go when the season starts."
Dickson believes he and Pitta developed a better rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco during offseason workouts, and Pitta isn't overly concerned about the inactivity affecting chemistry with Flacco.
"Fortunately, we've had a couple of years under our belts to develop that chemistry," Pitta said. "We don't stray too far. We're in all the meetings. We're doing everything we can to mentally prepare. Obviously, you want to be out there and develop the timing … but you've just got to do what you can do."