Tennessee Titans receiver and return man Marc Mariani suffered a gruesome compound fracture of his lower left leg in Thursday night in a preseason win over Arizona.
Mariani suffered the injury on a first-half kickoff return and was down on the field for several minutes while an air cast was put on the leg. He was immediately taken to the hospital for surgery, and his season is over.
“I was very disappointed. I felt terrible for him,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “Just going out and obviously seeing the pain that he was in, you know those things like that can happen. … That's a big loss for us.”
Mariani, a Pro Bowl return man for the Titans as a rookie in 2010,
“It's real tough. Marc is like a brother. It hurts to see him go down and I'm just praying that he recovers well. He was like our brother in the receiver room. He keeps us going at all time,” receiver Damian Williams said.
Quarterback Jake Locker also said feels for his teammate.
“He is a guy that is not only important to his team, but is one of my good buddies,” Locker said. “It's unfortunate because of his charisma and the way he can change the game through special teams. It's tough to lose a guy like that, but he's a hard worker. You'll see him back here as soon as he can be. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
The injury opens the door for running back Darius Reynaud, a street free agent, to take over as the return game.
The Titans are now short-handed at the wide receiver position with Kenny Britt still on PUP with a knee injury and also potentially facing a suspension for an off-season DUI just before training camp opened.
Tennessee is down to four receivers in its rotation in Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins. The Titans may be forced to look at veteran free agent options or claim a player after cuts are made this week to add an extra body at the position until Britt returns.