NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marcus Mariota, Darren Sproles feels your pain.
But the veteran running back also provides great reason for optimism for the Titans quarterback.
Like Mariota, Sproles suffered a fractured fibula. It happened back in 2006, during a preseason game. Sproles had surgery, and missed the regular season that year. Since, Sproles has been one of the NFL's most exciting players, known for his quick cuts and electrifying play.
"He's going to be fine,'' Sproles said of Mariota. "The rehab, it's a pretty good length. But the thing is, he'll be fine. When it first happened to me, I worried a little bit. But once I started the process and saw how I healed, how I was coming along, I was good.
"So Marcus is going to be good to go. He'll probably be better than ever."
Mariota suffered a fractured right fibula in the team's December 24 contest at Jacksonville, and had surgery the following week. The quarterback's leg cannot bear any weight until the end of February, a period of eight weeks after surgery. It's the first stage of what Mike Mularkey said would be a 4-5 month recovery process.
Mariota has been wearing a cast, and has been getting around on a knee walker/scooter since the injury. After two months, he'll be able to start the rehabilitation process.
Sproles, a 12-year veteran who has played with the Chargers, Saints and Eagles, played in his third Pro Bowl recently, in Orlando, Fla. It's where he made his comments about Mariota. In his career, Sproles has rushed for 3,305 yards and 49 touchdowns, along with 525 catches for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns.
He's coming off another productive season with the Eagles.
Sproles suffered a fractured left fibula during the 2006 preseason while with the Chargers. After undergoing surgery, he was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. Sproles said he also dealt with ligament damage as a result of the injury.
"But it never slowed me down," Sproles said. "I can still do everything, with no issues.
"I would tell him to just hang in there. Just go through the process, and you'll be fine."
Sproles said he's never met Mariota, but he's been impressed with his game from afar.
"He has some skills," Sproles said. "The guy has some skills for sure. I like the way he plays and once he heals up, he'll be as good as new."
TitansOnline.com looks back at Marcus Mariota's second NFL season in 2016. (AP Photos)