Mariota Returns to Practice; Sunday's Status Uncertain


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota returned to the practice field on Wednesday.

Will he return to action on Sunday vs. the Texans? Well, that won't be determined until later in the week.

"I'm not sure,'' Mariota said when asked about his availability after today's practice. "Hopefully I can. We're going to monitor the progress throughout the week. But it is feeling good."

Mariota said his injured knee is feeling better, but the decision will ultimately be left up to coaches and trainers. On Wednesday, he said he went through some passing routes and did some handoffs "and it felt good."

"If I can physically just do everything that's asked of me in the offense, if I can move around in the pocket and do things like that…,'' Mariota said. "I feel like I am getting there. I just have to continue to test it out in practice, monitor it, use the (medical staff) here, and make a decision."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Mariota has made big improvements compared to last week, when he missed all three days of practice. On Friday, Whisenhunt ruled Mariota out vs. Atlanta. Mariota suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee against the Dolphins on October 18.

"He did all of individual (work),'' Whisenhunt said, "and he got better as it progressed. It was good to have him back on the field…There's a little bit less unknown this week than last week. When you actually see him do some of the things on the field you naturally feel better.

"I think it's going to be a day-by day thing. He progressed today and got better as it went and we'll evaluate it tomorrow and see how it progressed."

Zach Mettenberger started in place of Mariota in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

Mariota was injured early in the second quarter of the team's 38-10 loss to the Dolphins on October 18 when Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon dove and hit Mariota on the back of his left leg after he released the football.

Mariota finished the game with a brace on his left knee. On the practice field Wednesday, he had a brace on his left knee.  Mariota said the plan is for him to do more during the course of the week.

In five games, Mariota has thrown for 1,239 yards, nine touchdown and five interceptions, with a 93.2 rating.

Mettenberger completed 22-of-35 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons, along with two interceptions.

On Sunday, Mariota watched from the sideline, as an inactive. He's itching to return to action.

"It was tough," Mariota said of not playing against the Falcons. "I am a competitor and to stand on the sideline, and not be able to contribute to the team, it was tough. But those guys played hard and unfortunately we weren't able to finish."


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