Titans hoping for quick Locker recovery

Sunday's matchup between 2011 first-round quarterbacks Jake Locker and Christian Ponder is in jeopardy after a shoulder injury to Locker.

Jake Locker has no structural damage to his left, non-throwing shoulder and coach Mike Munchak says the Titans quarterback will be day-to-day this week.

Locker dislocated his shoulder Sunday early in a 38-14 loss to Houston when sacked by Texans cornerback Glover Quinn in an injury Munchak said happened from the quarterback slamming back into the turf, not from the hit itself. He watched the rest of the game with his arm in a sling and had an MRI exam Monday.

Munchak said the Titans (1-3) will know more in the next couple days whether or not Locker will play Sunday at Minnesota (3-1).

"It's similar to last time," Munchak said of Locker, who originally hurt his shoulder in the season opener against New England. "The MRI was very similar. It popped out, and they popped it back in. He's real sore right now, so they're just waiting a couple of days to get a full examination."

The coach said Locker surprised everyone by how quickly he recovered when he hurt the shoulder before. But the coach also says Locker held the ball too long on a three-step drop and must throw quicker.

Munchak said the Titans won't necessarily rest Locker just to give the shoulder time to heal to prevent him from another dislocation.

"Obviously, rest is better than playing football with any injury. Not playing football would be good for all of us, but I don't know that he would sit out for that reason," Munchak said.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey played in college at UCLA against Locker when the quarterback was at Washington. He's seen up close how Locker kept playing no matter how many times defenses hit him.

"I have no doubt he's going to come back strong, and he's going to lead us as he's been leading us," Casey said.

The Titans do have Matt Hasselbeck ready if Locker recovers slower from this injury. The veteran was intercepted twice and lost a fumble in the loss to Houston. Munchak said Hasselbeck would benefit from a few extra snaps in practice.

If the Titans are looking for a bit of good news, they have a decent chance that both receiver Kenny Britt and linebacker Colin McCarthy could return to practice this week. Britt hurt his left ankle on Sept. 23 against Detroit, just two games after coming back from knee surgery and a one-game suspension for a driving under the influence arrest.

"We didn't feel comfortable with where (Britt) was on Saturday. We tried to run him a little bit. To have him go out there and cut wouldn't have been fair to him or the team," Munchak said of Britt.

"Obviously, our hope is that he'd have a good chance to help us this week."

McCarthy is a defensive captain who has not played since spraining his right ankle in the first half of the season opener.

"I think McCarthy should be able to go out and practice on Wednesday, and at least do some individual stuff," Munchak said. "We're more optimistic this week that he'll have a shot."

Perhaps McCarthy's return can help a Tennessee defense that has given up a league-worst 151 points — 20 more than any other team. The Titans also are spending more time on the field than any other defense, averaging 36 minutes, 56 seconds a game. Only New Orleans is giving up more yards than the Titans.

Casey said they know they need more sacks, more turnovers and more stops on third down to get the ball back for the offense. The biggest key will be getting each player working together, and Casey said it was surprising to see Titans on "different pages" when watching film.

"We have to get everybody flowing the same," Casey said.

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