NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tight end Craig Stevens capped a full week of practice and said his rib injury felt a lot better Friday, but Titans coach Mike Munchak said Stevens will be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.
The fourth-year pro who provides blocking in the run game and a threat in the passing game said he's been getting in the pool and running and doing "everything he can without re-aggravating" the rib injury he suffered on Oct. 2 at Cleveland.
The injury limited his contributions at Pittsburgh and against Houston, so Tennessee (4-3) de-activated him for last week's victory against Indianapolis (0-8) in hopes the extra rest would be beneficial.
Matt Hasselbeck called Stevens the "glue of our offense."
"He brings things together — definitely a guy you can rely on, a guy you can count on," Hasselbeck said.
Such was the case in Week 3 when Hasselbeck hit Stevens in stride for a 58-yard catch-and-run that set up the game-winning touchdown pass from Hasselbeck to tight end Daniel Graham in the fourth quarter. Hasselbeck connected with Stevens the following week in Cleveland for a 12-yard touchdown early, but Stevens suffered the injury in the second quarter.
If Stevens does return this week, he will certainly be called upon for run blocking Bengals defenders that rank second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (85.4).
Cincinnati's starting front four includes: Robert Geathers (6-foot-3, 280 pounds), Domata Peko (6-3, 322), Geno Atkins (6-1, 300) and Michael Johnson (6-7, 267).
"They're really aggressive," Hasselbeck said. "They play downhill. They're easily the biggest defense we've played. The guys up front are huge. They play eight defensive linemen, so they're always fresh."
BEEN AWHILE: The Titans/Oilers-Bengals match-up is one of the most frequent for each franchise. The teams have played 72 times (including playoffs) since 1968 but have not played each other since 2008. The three-year gap is the longest the two teams have gone without playing each other.
Tennessee won the last meeting 24-7 in September 2008 during its 10-0 start of that season.
The Titans and Bengals are tied in all-time points with 1,677 apiece.
"I just hope that we go ahead in points then," Munchak said when told of the unique stat. "I hope when Sunday is over that we are at least up by one, that would be a good thing. It's always been a great rivalry with us and Cincinnati."
INJURY UPDATE: In addition to Stevens, linebacker Colin McCarthy (hamstring) and fullback Ahmard Hall (back) will be questionable. Defensive end Dave Ball (Achilles) and safety Michael Griffin (hip) will be probable. Safety Chris Hope (broken forearm) will be out for the fourth straight game.