The Titans received an encouraging medical report Tuesday after Jake Locker underwent a second MRI. The first MRI that was taken Sunday after Locker was injured was inconclusive, so the Titans were in wait-and-see mode until the swelling Locker encountered subsided.
“We received reassuring reports from the second MRI (Tuesday) and they confirmed that there was no major damage to Jake Locker’s hip joint – it is classified as a sprained hip,” the team announced. “The area will need time to heal and strengthen, but he won’t require surgery and he has already begun a rehab routine for both his hip and knee. We certainly would expect him to miss a few weeks, but we are encouraged by the news (Tuesday).”
Locker suffered the sprained hip and knee (the knee is thought to be less major than the hip injury) early in the third quarter during a pass attempt. After firing the ball toward Nate Washington, Locker was hit from the front left by Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. The hit knocked Locker backward and he spun about 180 degrees. As Locker’s right foot planted, he took another hit from Jets linebacker Quinton Coples that pushed him away from the direction he was going and appeared to put extra stress on Locker’s right hip and knee. Locker reached for his hip after the hit by Coples and went to the ground.
Teammates came by to share words of encouragement and prayed for Locker, who left the field on a cart as the crowd at LP Field chanted, “Jake, Jake, Jake…”
Titans coach Mike Munchak said he considered both hits “unnecessary” and the one by Coples as “totally unnecessary,” but neither drew a flag.
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said “I think the hit (by Wilkerson) wasn’t too aggressive but it was a late hit. It wasn’t called for,” and tight end Delanie Walker said “there wasn’t a reason for the late hit he took.”
Locker will not be playing this week and began receiving treatment Monday. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Titans (3-1) this Sunday against Kansas City (4-0).
Prior to the injury, Locker recorded his first NFL game with three touchdown passes. It was his 15th career start. Munchak said the injury will halt the momentum Locker had been building, but he is confident in Locker’s ability to bounce back and in Fitzpatrick’s ability to fill in.
“You don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but everything was going right for him,” Munchak said. “He was playing well the last couple weeks doing exactly what we thought he would do, what he thought he was capable of. He was playing as good as he’s played against a top defense in that game, in that half, going into the third quarter. It’s a blow to the team, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, in sports this happens. Luckily, we have Fitz, who we think is a very good quarterback.”
Locker missed five starts last season (his first as a captain and starter) with an injury to his left shoulder. He vowed to do what he can to help the Titans while he is sidelined.
“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” Locker said in a statement. “I am going to work as hard as I can to get back as soon as I can. I believe in this team and will do whatever I can to help us win in the meantime.”
Tags: Jake Locker, LP Field, Mike Munchak, Titans
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