NFL notes: Marcus Mariota misses Titans practice but hopes to play against Colts
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said he is doing “everything in my power” to be available Sunday night against Indianapolis with a playoff berth on the line.
Mariota did not practice Wednesday with what the Titans listed as neck and foot injuries. Mariota declined to detail what symptoms he’s still dealing with after being hurt on a sack late in the first half of Tennessee’s win over Washington last weekend.
On his weekly radio appearance earlier Wednesday, Mariota said the hit left his whole right side “numb and tingly.”
Mariota also called it unfortunate because nerves take time to recover.
The quarterback spent practice receiving treatment, and he told reporters after practice that he is optimistic about playing for at worst the AFC’s second wild-card berth. A loss by Houston (10-5) earlier Sunday would put the AFC South title on the line for the Colts and Titans, both 9-6.
“This is for everything, so there’s no timetable,” Mariota said of his recovery. “If I can go, and it’s Sunday at 5 o’clock by all means. We’re just again taking it one day at a time. I’m going to do my best to be available.”
The Titans signed Austin Davis on Monday, bringing back a quarterback who was on the roster in September when Mariota missed back-to-back starts. Blaine Gabbert stayed on the field after practice getting in some extra work. Gabbert has come off the bench three times season for the Titans and started twice. Gabbert became the first backup quarterback to win when Mariota left a game injured with the Titans losing the first six such games.
Gabbert threw the game-winning touchdown with 4:30 left against Washington, and he finished with a 123.7 passer rating. He has thrown for 461 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked five times this season.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said they hope Mariota can practice Thursday and see how the quarterback feels after a day of treatment and rest.
“So we’ll see where that goes and try to work him back in,” Vrabel said.
Both the Colts and Titans will know exactly what’s at stake when they kick off, and the winner also could play for the No. 2 seed in the AFC if Houston, New England and Baltimore all lose.
In other quarterback news:
— Carolina placed quarterback Taylor Heinicke on injured reserve after he sustained a left elbow injury in his first career NFL start, a 24-10 loss to the Falcons on Sunday, in place of Cam Newton (shoulder). Coach Ron Rivera said undrafted rookie Kyle Allen will start against the Saints this weekend with Carolina already eliminated from playoff contention. Carolina signed Garrett Gilbert, who was with the team in training camp, on Wednesday to be Allen’s backup.
— Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone announced that Blake Bortles will start the season finale at Houston, giving the embattled quarterback a chance to close out a subpar season and possibly his final game with the Jaguars on a positive note. Bortles has been up and down in five seasons, posting a 24-48 career record. Because of his inconsistency, it seems unlikely he will return to Jacksonville in 2019.
In other NFL news:
— Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph said rookie running back Phillip Lindsay needs an operation on his injured right wrist and the recovery could take up to four months. Lindsay, the first undrafted offensive player ever to earn a Pro Bowl selection, got hurt Monday night in Oakland shortly after surpassing 1,000 yards rushing.
— New York Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson was held out of practice for what coach Todd Bowles calls “an in-house matter.” Both Bowles and Johnson declined after practice to discuss details of their conversation, saying only that it was between them. Johnson said he expects to return to practice Thursday and play at New England in the season finale Sunday. Johnson is listed on the team’s first injury report of the week as having not practiced with the reason being “not injury related.”
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