Last week, coach John Harbaugh said Pitta was progressing positively, and the team saw "optimism" in the tight end's rehab. Theoretically, the designation means he would be eligible to play in Week 9. If he sees the field for a playoff run, it would be a bonus for the Ravens.
Using the one-time designation on a player initially expected to miss the entire season comes with a risk. If another important player (Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs, etc.) goes down early this season, the Ravens would have to keep that person on the active roster or lose him for the season.
The team's other starting tight end coming into the season, Ed Dickson, is dealing with a hamstring injury. Signs are pointing toward Dickson playing in Thursday's season opener against the Denver Broncos.