OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle's rookie season likely is over -- and his football career might be, too.
Kindle fractured his skull shortly before training camp in July when he fell down two flights of stairs. The former Texas standout underwent a series of neurological exams from independent doctors in Baltimore.
"He's got some serious issues that he's dealing with," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday after practice. "The chances of him playing this year are slim. We're going to be very, very careful. The doctors are going to very careful. Sergio is going to be very careful with that type of an injury."
Kindle said it's just a matter of time before he returns to football.
"I know I'll play football again," he said. "I don't know when, but I'm going to make it back."
The Ravens are giving him that chance.
Harbaugh said the team still plans to sign its second-round draft pick to a contract -- one that offers the Baltimore protection in case Kindle isn't able to play again.
The coach said the Ravens intend "to sign him to some form of a deal that reflects the situation and give him an opportunity."
However, because of the nature of the injury, there's no guarantee Kindle will make it back.
"There's no way to predict these things," Harbaugh said. "You don't know how the brain heals. It's different in everybody. We'll just see how it goes."
Before Friday's announcement, Kindle had said he's remaining patient as he waits for the Ravens to talk with the NFL Management Council before proceeding with contract talks.
"They're supposed to do that before they can talk to me," he said Thursday. "I hope we're talking soon about me coming back there and doing my contract. I don't know when that will happen, hopefully soon."
Kindle said he continues to make steady progress and is working out hard.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'll be feeling a lot better once I get back there."
Kindle also said he remains upbeat about his outlook.
"I'm not frustrated," Kindle said. "At first, I was because I didn't understand and now I understand. Being patient is a good thing. Being frustrated won't help. I'm waiting for the good word."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press