Injuries now piling up for Titans' wide receivers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans already have lost one starting wide receiver this week because of a lacerated spleen. Now another starter has a sore right hand that kept him out of practice Thursday.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Kendall Wright hurt his hand on a route Wednesday, so they gave him the day off to rest his hand. Wright wore a splint on his hand during the open portion of practice, and Whisenhunt says they should know more about the receiver's hand Friday with an X-ray planned.
The timing couldn't be much worse with the Titans (2-10) having lost six straight and 10 of 11 with the Giants (3-9) visiting Sunday.
The Titans placed Justin Hunter on injured reserve Tuesday, and Wright is their leading receiver with 51 catches for a team-best five touchdowns. Their backups include Derek Hagan with eight catches all season and Kris Durham who has yet to play after being claimed off waivers Aug. 31.
''Well, it's not great,'' Whisenhunt said when asked about depth at wide receiver. ''Obviously, Kris and Derek are familiar with the offense, and we can use Dexter (McCluster) in certain situations like we've done. So you know, that's the way it is.''
Hagan is averaging 16.1 yards per catch and has a touchdown reception. He has been playing special teams and downed a punt at the 1 in last week's 45-21 loss at Houston. Durham, a third-year veteran, certainly has the size at 6-foot-6 to help replace the 6-4 Hunter plus he's known Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger for years.
Mettenberger, who said he has a great relationship with all the receivers, has known Durham since the quarterback was 13. Mettenberger's mother, Tammy, worked in the Georgia football office before retiring, so her son hung around a lot.
''We go way back,'' Mettenberger said. ''I've thrown a lot of routes with him when I was at Georgia and even when I was a backup player and he was a practice squad guy (in Tennessee). We've got a great relationship and really know how each other works.''
Durham also practiced with Mettenberger for two springs at Georgia. They reconnected when the Titans picked Durham up off waivers from Detroit on Aug. 31 after starting 13 games with the Lions last season catching 38 passes for 490 yards. The receiver has had to patiently wait for his chance in Tennessee.
But he said Mettenberger knows what he will do, and the receiver is very familiar with the quarterback's strong arm.
''You could see it from Day One him out there throwing 50 yards even when he was 14 years old,'' Durham said.
Even then, Mettenberger threw hard enough the ball whistled through the air.
''It still does, a little more pop,'' Durham said.
Notes: Mettenberger was limited Thursday and threw a bit more testing his sprained right shoulder. RT Michael Oher (left toe) returned to practice and was limited along with CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (back). LT Taylor Lewan (left ankle) did not practice along with DE Kam Wimbley (left hamstring). RG Chance Warmack (ankle) and DB Marqueston Huff (hamstring) practiced fully.
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