The Tennessee Titans are off to one of their best starts (3-1) after beating the New York Jets 38-13 Sunday, but the loss of starting quarterback Jake Locker to injury could unravel those good feelings.
Locker was carted off LP Field in the third quarter after a collision with New York defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples while throwing a pass.
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Titans coach Mike Munchak said while the injury does not appear as bad as first thought, he is hoping to get a more definitive answer sometime Monday, The Tennessean reported
. Locker was admitted to St. Thomas Medical Center Midtown after he left the field with a right hip injury but was released Monday morning, The Tennessean said.
Initial tests didn't show that the hip popped out of joint.
Locker is expected to be out of commission for a month, sources told The Tennessean. Until then, the quarterback duties have been turned over to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played the final quarter-plus for the Titans. Before leaving the game, Locker completed 18 of 24 passes (.750) for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
"I could tell he was in pain. He was wincing," said Titans fullback Collin Mooney, according to USA Today
. "The first thing he asked was, 'Did he catch the ball?' That's Jake for you."
Fitzpatrick, who spent the past four years with the Buffalo Bills, said he will be prepared to take over the starting job if Locker cannot go for next week or for any extended period of time, according to the team's website.
"The 'don’t screw it up' mentality was for this game with the situation I came in, in terms of having the lead like we did and the way the defense was playing great and the turnovers," Fitzpatrick said in a post-game news conference.
"We’ll see where it goes from here in terms of Jake’s health and everything. If I end up being the guy next week then that’s no longer the mentality. ... I was brought here for a reason."
The Tennessean wrote that practice squad QB Rusty Smith could be picked up as the backup quarterback for Fitzpatrick if Locker is not ready to start. Smith was drafted by the Titans out of Florida Atlantic in 2010. He has played in three games and started one.
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