Bad luck has struck again for Tennessee Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy.
But the third-year middle linebacker says he is not frustrated by the hamstring injury that will at least keep him out of Thursday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, and possibly longer.
“I'm not frustrated. I think more than anything I'm confident. When I had the pads on and when I hit people, I felt great.” McCarthy said. “Coming from my injury with my ankle and my injury from my concussion that I had this past season, I kind of answered those questions I had. A small little injury like this, or kind of a setback, is nothing compared to what I've overcome this past season.”
McCarthy was held out of Thursday's practice and sent for an MRI on his right hamstring after he came up sore after Wednesday's work. McCarthy said he isn't 100 percent certain what happened, but guessed that it probably was related to the ankle surgery he had in the off-season.
“I think maybe fatigue from my ankle I'm not sure as far as what actually caused him. It's just soreness and that kind of stuff. I haven't really put that much load on it and obviously from where I had my ankle surgery, I haven't really hit anybody,” McCarthy said. “I think maybe it's a combination of those things that brought on some soreness and that kind of stuff. Now, I'm just trying to get over the soreness and get my legs fresh and ready to go for the season.”
McCarthy finds himself in a battle to hold on to the starting middle linebacker spot, competing against free agent pickup Moise Fokou, who was brought in because of McCarthy's injury history. Last year, McCarthy played in just seven games between a high ankle sprain and a concussion.
“It's been an issue unfortunately for Colin for he two years he's been here, so we wanted to make sure we had some more depth,” Coach Mike Munchak said of bringing in Fokou.
McCarthy had just made his first appearance back with the starters in Wednesday's work and now is sidelined again.
“He was looking so good. We were bragging on him at how good he looked, how physical he looked, and he was running with the first group again, and I'm not even sure how it happened,” Munchak said. “It's frustrating for him and for all of us. It could be something that's a 10-day thing or longer. It depends on how it heals.”
In terms of how it affects his standing in the race to start, McCarthy says he just needs to get healthy.
“That's their decision. That's not my decision. My biggest thing is to be healthy and be available. That's always been my kind of thought process through this whole thing,” McCarthy said. “The OTAs are good, the mini-camps are good and obviously here during preseason. But when the time counts, and we've got the 16 weeks and we kick off against Pittsburgh, that's when I need to be 100 percent and when I need to be ready to go.
“The important thing is for me to be 100 percent when the season rolls around and I think playing the preseason games and kind of getting my feet wet and getting back in game shape and that kind of stuff, they'll bring me along the way they want me to make sure that week one, I'm ready to go.”
McCarthy said the important thing for him is just to play.
“We've got four preseason games, starting next Thursday, so obviously getting game reps with the ones, getting game reps in general, whether it's ones, twos or threes, I think it'll be good. I'm not gonna kill myself, but at the same time, get quality reps, so come week one, there's no doubt in my mind and in our defense that we're ready to play,” he said.
McCarthy isn't the only Titans linebacker who is out with an injury.
Rookie Zaviar Gooden hurt his ankle at the end of Thursday's practice and he will be out for next week's game against the Redskins as well.
Center Fernando Velasco left Friday's practice early, but it was due to an allergic reaction to something he had eaten. He is expected to practice Saturday.
Running back Jalen Parmele sat out a second straight day to rest a sore ankle, and Kenny Britt got the day off as well.
Center Brian Schwenkie remains out with a hamstring injury.