Titans RB DeMarco Murray finished with torn plantar plate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) DeMarco Murray finished his first season in Tennessee leading the AFC in rushing and third overall in the NFL.

And the veteran running back said Sunday after the Titans beat Houston 24-17 that he finished the season playing with a torn plantar plate in his right foot.

Yes, Murray says it was rough enough he took medication just to practice.

''It's something I had to deal with,'' Murray said. ''You've got to fight through injuries, and fight through the pain ... It was a case where I just wanted to keep playing. The trainers just kept finding ways to tape it and giving it some stability.

''But at the end of the day, I just had to put the pain somewhere else and keep playing.''

Murray originally hurt his right foot Oct. 27 when he ran for 123 yards in a win over Jacksonville. He was listed on the Titans' injury report for over a month with a foot injury. The plantar plate is a ligament connected to the toes. But Murray had not been on the injury report since Week 10.

The running back rushed for 100 yards in a game only once more the rest of the season, picking up 75 of his 123 yards against Green Bay on Nov. 13 on his first carry. Murray still turned in the second-best season of his career with 1,287 yards rushing, and the seventh-best rushing season in franchise history.

With Le'Veon Bell sitting in Pittsburgh and LeSean McCoy limited to 10 yards before an injury in Buffalo's 30-10 loss to the Jets, that left only rookies Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas and Jordan Howard of Chicago with more yards rushing in the NFL than Murray. The Titans running back also finished with nine touchdowns rushing.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Murray likely would say himself that his season was a group effort.

''He's made a lot of yards on his own,'' Mularkey said of Murray.

On the final day of the season, Murray had his worst performance with the Titans never trailing. He ran 11 times for 21 yards against Houston, a defense that had allowed only 68 yards rushing per game since Week 8. The Texans scratched four starters before kickoff, but Murray didn't find much room to run.

Rookie Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, got the bulk of the workload late with 15 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown.

''It felt good for me to be out there to try and close one,'' Henry said.

Murray made it clear Thursday he didn't care about leading the conference in rushing. He remained disappointed Sunday that the Titans missed the playoffs, done in by a 2-4 record inside the AFC South. Tennessee did salvage the franchise's first winning record since 2011.

''It's a little bittersweet obviously, because you want to continue to play, but it was huge division win and it was good to go out with a winning record,'' Murray said.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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