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Locker under evaluation, Fitzpatrick at QB for Titans

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Quarterback Jake Locker was on his way to perhaps the best game of his young NFL career Sunday, completing 18 of 24 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

Then the Tennessee Titans' starting quarterback was hurt for the second consecutive year, this time in the form of a right hip injury.

Locker spent Sunday night in the hospital after being carted off the field during the Titans' 38-13 rout of the New York Jets. On Monday, coach Mike Munchak indicated that the quarterback was still being evaluated. About the only definite information available was that Locker's injury would not be season-ending, that the quarterback did not dislocate his hip but that he did sprain the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

There was still significant swelling in Locker's hip, and a second MRI exam was scheduled for Tuesday morning to determine the extent of the damage.

Media reports Monday morning indicated that Locker could miss a month or even two months, but Munchak dismissed that as speculation, even though a lengthy absence remains a distinct possibility.

"Anything you've heard has not come from us or our organization about Jake's status going forward. Last night after the injury, he stayed at the hospital -- obviously because it was late in the evening -- for testing and for comfort. He had his tests done yesterday," Munchak said Monday. "He's already been to the facility today for treatment and has gone home. He's obviously in very good spirits for the situation that he's in.

"All of the tests they've done on him have been encouraging so far from the things we've seen on the MRI. ... Obviously, we're concerned for his hip and actually his knee on the same side was sore after it happened from it being twisted. I think that's just a sprain, so it's no big deal there with the knee. So far with the hip area, (it's) encouraging now, meaning that he still has swelling, so they don't want to speculate on determining what that means."

In the meantime, the Titans will hand the reins of the offense to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who served as the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback the previous two years before being cut in a salary-cap move in the offseason.

"The reason I was brought here was to help Jake out and be ready for a situation like this if it came up," Fitzpatrick said. "For me now, if he's not in there, then this is why they brought me here."

The quarterback changes comes at an inopportune time for the Titans, who face a daunting schedule the next three weeks before their Oct. 27 bye. Tennessee plays host to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, plays at the undefeated Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 13, then plays host to the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 20.
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