Pryce ranks third in sacks among active players with 90, but he has only one tackle this season. Pryce, 35, hasn't started in any of Baltimore's three games.
Pryce, who signed with the Ravens in 2006, took a $2.5 million pay cut this past offseason -- to $2 million.
Harbaugh said there's a "high possibility" that Pryce will return, perhaps as soon as next week.
"You've got roster issues that you deal with. It's not something we wanted to do," Harbaugh said. "Trevor is a big part of what we're doing here, and we anticipate getting him back. It's just what we had to do for now."
Hamlin has played in 100 games, including two for the Ravens this season, totaling 565 tackles, 14 interceptions and five sacks during his eight-year career.
"We said before we wanted him back," Harbaugh said. "He figures into our plans the rest of the year."
Harbaugh insisted that Hamlin was simply a better fit on the roster for this week.
"We're going to put the 45 best guys out there," he said. "I would rather have Trevor here this week playing, but we're not able to do that. We just have a numbers situation."
Pryce's locker hadn't been cleared out Wednesday.
"It's totally different not having him here," said offensive tackle Marshall Yanda, whose locker is next to Pryce's. "I guess that's part of the business."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.