Jake Locker returned to the practice field on Wednesday, but that isn't necessarily a sign that the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback will be under center on Sunday.
Locker, who has been out the past two weeks with a sprained hip and a sprained right knee, did individual drills and worked in 7-on-7 with a couple of snaps in the team period in his first work since suffering the injury against the New York Jets. He wore a brace on his sprained knee as he practiced.
Coach Mike Munchak said it was good to get Locker back out on the field.
“I thought it was good just having him out there. He was able to do all of his individual drills. He did some 7-on-7, took some snaps, did some team stuff. I thought it was a good start for him,” Munchak said. “We’ll see how sore he is, and we’ll watch the tape kind of watch him a little closer and see how he was moving around; there’s not a lot of stress out there doing things, but he threw the ball well. It was a good start for him.”
If Locker doesn't experience a lot of soreness on Thursday from his first day back, the Titans may increase his workload a bit on Thursday, according to Munchak.
“We’re not really thinking along those lines. We’re thinking we’re glad he’s out there, so after today we’ll decide how much more work to give him and kind of where he’s at,” Munchak said. “A lot of times, the first time out, (guys) are pretty sore the next day. We’ll see how he’s doing. Like we said, he’s on schedule.
“We’ll take it day-by-day, give him a little bit of work. Obviously, we’ve got to get a quarterback ready to play Sunday, and that’s why we’re giving him some work just to get him warmed up, get him throwing again, give him confidence again in the pocket.”
Though Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has struggled the past couple of weeks with four interceptions filling in for Locker, is likely to start again this week when the Titans host the San Francisco 49ers, Munchak wouldn't completely commit to saying Fitzpatrick is the definite starter this week.
“We’re not declaring anything. Like I said, we’re not saying he’s out. We’re going forward with Ryan, but we want to see how well, how fast along Jake comes,” Munchak said.
Munchak reiterated that the Titans would do as much as they can with Locker and injured running back Shonn Greene, who also practice for the first time Wednesday since having his knee scoped following week two.
The Titans will have to weigh the upcoming bye week and the additional rest that could he had against being in a near must-win situation at 3-3 this week.
“That’s something you’re definitely going to consider with him and maybe some of the other guys with some injuries…when you get to the end of the week and what’s best for the team, what’s best for him,” Munchak said. “Ultimately, we have to do whatever it takes to win this football game this week, so we’re thinking along those lines, too. It’s important to have our best guys out there, but ultimately there’s a lot of season left. Having a week off next week definitely factors in.”
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