The Tennessee Titans can secure a playoff spot with a win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17, but it appears they’ll have to do so without their starting quarterback.
Marcus Mariota suffered a stinger in the Titans’ Week 16 win over the Washington Redskins, and the nerve injury caused him to go numb on his right side. While the fourth-year quarterback said he was going to try to play Sunday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported, citing sources, that Mariota is unlikely to play and that the nerve injury caused by the stinger is quite serious.
“Mariota is officially listed as questionable and reportedly will test his arm in pregame warm-ups,” Mortensen writes. “But one source told ESPN that an independent spine specialist has warned the Titans that further damage would put Mariota’s ability to throw the football at significant risk beyond this weekend.”
A source told Mortensen that the spine specialist told the Titans it is the “physical contact of a football game that would subject Mariota to the risk of permanent damage.”
The Titans reportedly are hopeful the pain will diminish with another week and Mariota will be able to go in the AFC Wild Card Round if backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert can manage to beat Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Mariota is the Titans’ franchise quarterback so the team is wise not to risk long-term injury for what likely would be one more game. The Oregon product has dealt with the nerve issue since initially taking a hit on his elbow during the season-opener against the Miami Dolphins.