Back injury has Gage's status uncertain

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:04pm
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Justin Gage made this leaping catch Sunday, but did not return after falling hard to the ground.

After leaping high into the air to make a 33-yard reception in Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans receiver Justin Gage’s status for this week is up in the air.

Gage fell hard to the turf at Candlestick Park and was walking gingerly as he watched Wednesday’s practice.

“Once the adrenaline wore off and the atmosphere died down a little bit. It stiffened up. My body started hurting and I felt the pain,” Gage said.

Gage indicated that his entire left side was sore, but was encouraged that he has not lost any movement or feeling in his extremities throughout the process since the fall.

“Fingers and toes still wiggle and I can still walk, so I’m not concerned about it,” Gage said.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said x-rays and CAT scans were being performed on Gage to determine what the exact prognosis is.

“He’s sore and we’re still doing tests. He’s just very, very sore,” Fisher said. “He landed hard and his lower back is sore. We’ve done x-rays, CAT scans and all that kind of stuff. We don’t have any information for you at this point.”

Gage indicated he was still awaiting word on the diagnosis himself from doctors.

“I’m waiting for results personally on that. I told the doc I’d come back in and see him on that. I’m not sure what it says at this point. They have an idea of what’s going on,” Gage said.

Gage had four catches for 97 yards, with the last of those being the 33-yard catch that caused the injury, but set up a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Chris Johnson that gave the Titans the lead for good.

“I felt like it was one of my better catches. At the time it was one of the bigger plays in the game. It put us in scoring position and helped us get a win,” Gage said.

Gage is taking the optimistic approach to the situation, and said he would like to try and practice this week.

“I feel a little beat up, but I’ll be all right. Hopefully, this weekend, but they ran tests and I don’t know what they’re going to say,” Gage said. “Hopefully, it’ll just be a day or two and I’ll be back out there, so if not tomorrow then Friday."

While that might sound optimistic, Fisher was not ready to rule Gage out of Sunday’s game with the Buffalo Bills yet.

“We’re concerned about him with his low back as he landed on the ground. We’re hoping that he will improve quickly,” Fisher said. “He didn’t practice. I don’t see him as being out this week yet, but he is very sore.”

Quarterback Vince Young sounded as if he would be preparing not to have Gage on Sunday.

“The type of plays he makes for us, we’re going to miss him a whole lot, but we know he’s taking care of his business and he’s going to be back out there soon. It’ll give our young guys a chance to step up,” Young said.

If Gage cannot go, the Titans would be thin at the receiver position with rookie first-round pick Kenny Britt, who had just 12 snaps in Sunday’s win over the 49ers, playing a bigger role.

“Hopefully, he can go and everything, but if there’s a chance he can’t go, then I’m going to have to step up to the plate and fill his shoes,” Britt said.

Beyond him, the Titans have only Lavelle Hawkins, who finished up in the three-receiver package on Sunday.

Dominique Edison, who was on the roster earlier this year, is on the practice squad, and Chris Davis was released last week after a short return to the Titans.