NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While Jake Locker will miss a “few weeks” with a sprained hip, coach Mike Munchak says the Titans are encouraged by how the quarterback already is moving around.
Exactly how many games Locker misses depends on how quickly he recovers.
“If anyone’s going to get back quick, it’s him,” Munchak said Tuesday night during his weekly radio show on 104.5 The Zone WGFX-FM. “We know he’s going to miss a few games and now it’s just going to be a matter of how well he rehabs and how quickly it comes around to see exactly when. We won’t know for a couple weeks how close he could be to playing.”
The Titans released a statement earlier Tuesday, saying a second MRI exam was “reassuring” and confirmed Locker did not suffer major damage to his hip joint. Locker sprained his right hip and also his right knee.
Munchak had dismissed reports Monday that Locker would miss at least a month and possibly up to eight weeks, saying everyone was just “guessing.” He said then they needed the second MRI exam because Locker had swelling in his hip. Munchak said Tuesday night they wanted to be cautious.
“Then today they said that this looks a lot better than we thought,” Munchak said. “He’s still got a lot of work ahead of him no doubt, but it’s good news to know that he’s got just a sprain of the hip area and also the knee.”
Munchak said Locker started his rehabilitation Tuesday and also took part in the quarterbacks’ weekly session.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Sunday for the Titans (3-1) against Kansas City (4-0), and Tennessee has not made any roster move yet to add another quarterback to the roster. Rusty Smith already is on the practice squad, but the Titans would have to release someone else to promote him to the roster in a move that would not have to be made until Saturday.
The timing could not be worse for the Titans. Locker missed five games last season with an injured left shoulder for a team that lost four of its first five games. The Titans now are off to a strong start, and Locker certainly is a reason why.
Locker currently is the third-ranked quarterback in the AFC by passer rating behind Denver’s Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers of San Diego. Locker currently has a 99 passer rating and is completing a career-high 62.2 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Titans wrap up a three-game home stand against the Chiefs on Sunday before visiting Seattle (4-0) on Oct. 13. They host San Francisco (2-2) before their bye. If Locker is out for only a month, he could be on target to return Nov. 3 when Tennessee visits St. Louis.