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AFC: Titans are trying to heal, prepare

By wire services
Published September 14, 2004

NASHVILLE - The Titans got an extra day of rest because of Hurricane Ivan. They'll need every minute of it to heal, and teach rookie Jacob Bell how to work with the starting offensive line.

Tennessee wants a second opinion on the left biceps of guard Zach Piller before deciding if his season is over. But even the most optimistic doctor wouldn't allow him to play this weekend.

So Bell, Tennessee's fifth-round draft pick out of Miami of Ohio, is preparing for his first NFL start between left tackle Brad Hopkins and center Justin Hartwig.

"He's a fresh fish ... " Hopkins said of the 6-foot-4, 306-pound Bell. "He didn't just make this squad so he could sit back and reap the benefits of being a Titan. It's his time to play."

Bell played 14 snaps with the line Saturday in the Titans' 17-7 victory over Miami, a game moved up a day because of approaching Hurricane Ivan. But Bell couldn't face a bigger challenge with the Titans hosting the defending AFC South champion Colts Sunday.

Running back Chris Brown sat out the second half of the opener with a sprained left ankle. He said Monday he was a little sore but that he will be ready for Sunday's game.

The biggest question for the Titans on offense will be the health of receiver Tyrone Calico's knees. He sprained ligaments in both in the final preseason game, and had torn cartilage repaired in his left knee on Sept. 1. The Titans predicted he could be out two or three weeks, and he didn't travel to Miami. But he jogged on a treadmill Sunday, and Calico said Monday he felt fine.

BRONCOS Cornerback Lenny Walls could miss up to a month after dislocating his right shoulder. Walls, who started all 16 games for the Broncos last season, played the nickel spot Sunday. Coach Mike Shanahan said it looked like a four-week injury, but could be less.

RAVENS: Ethan Brooks, who replaced Jonathan Ogden at left tackle in Baltimore's 20-3 defeat at Cleveland, will miss at least two weeks with a sprained knee ligament. The Ravens hope to have Ogden, who missed the game with a sprained knee, back, but are still without center Mike Flynn (fractured shoulder blade). ... Former Gators wide receiver Travis Taylor aggravated a groin injury and probably will be sidelined this week. ... Kelly Gregg, a three-year starter at nose guard, is scheduled for knee surgery this week.

[Last modified September 14, 2004, 05:10:32]


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