Mariota watches practices less than 48 hours after surgery
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota watched his teammates practice Friday for the Titans' season finale less than 48 hours after having surgery on his broken right leg.
Mariota broke his leg last week in a 38-17 loss to Jacksonville that helped to extinguish the Titans' playoff hopes.
He had a plate surgically inserted Wednesday to support the right fibula in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mariota arrived back in Nashville on Thursday night and was at the team's headquarters Friday watching practice and sitting in on meetings for Sunday's season finale against Houston (9-6).
''We're glad to have him back,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. ''It didn't surprise me. I wish he was dressed a little warmer. But it doesn't surprise me. He wanted to finish that game, and he wanted to finish the season with his teammates. The only way he can finish it now is to be with his teammates, and we want him around. He's a large reason why we've had the success we've had.''
Mariota sat in on quarterback meetings, and Mularkey praised him for not only showing up while recovering from surgery but helping prepare veteran Matt Cassel for his first start this season.
The quarterback's teammates were happy to see Mariota back in the building, knowing he faces up to five months of rehabilitation to recover from the injury.
''I'm happy to see he's doing good and that the surgery went well,'' center Ben Jones said. ''He's in good spirits. He knows he's got a long offseason and a lot of recovery, but he's in good hopes and knows he's going to be good for next season.''
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews said it meant a lot both to Mariota and the Titans (8-7) to see him.
''I know he wants to be out there the most,'' Matthews said. ''But as the leader of this team and to go out there and show support, he just got back in town last night, you saw him out there on his little scooter. It means a lot for him to be out there.''
INJURY UPDATE: CB Jason McCourty again was limited Friday and will be a game-time decision with a chest/shoulder injury Dec. 18 at Kansas City. ... Long snapper Beau Brinkley missed practice due to illness, the third player in as many days to miss practice because of sickness. LB Sean Spence was ill Wednesday but returned Thursday. CB D'Joun Smith was out with a virus Thursday and was back Friday. ... CB LeShaun Sims is out of the concussion protocol and has been cleared to play Sunday.
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