NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jake Locker will start at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, a person familiar with the situation said.
Titans coaches and trainers met Saturday and decided Locker should start rather than backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Titans did not announce the decision.
Locker sprained both his right hip and knee Sept. 29 against the Jets. He returned to practice Wednesday with brace on his sprained right knee and did more each day, and the Titans gave him a slight majority of the work Friday.
NFL.com first reported Locker was expected to start barring a setback.
The Titans originally said Locker was expected to miss a few weeks after he was taken from LP Field by ambulance to a local hospital where he spent the night. But coach Mike Munchak has said since Locker was injured that the quarterback had proven to be a quick healer in his career.
Still, the timetable is somewhat surprising, especially because the earliest Locker was expected back was Nov. 3 for the Titans game at St. Louis.
Fitzpatrick started the next two games and was intercepted twice in each. The Titans lost both games, dropping to 3-3. Locker was off to the best start of his career before being hurt, completing 62.2 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Titans have a bye after they host the 49ers (4-2), but they trail the Indianapolis Colts by a game in the loss column. The Colts host Denver on Sunday night, making this a big game for Tennessee.
General manager Ruston Webster said Friday that he was optimistic Locker would play Sunday during his weekly radio show.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org