Banged up Titans to rest up for Bucs

Tuesday, December 23, 2003 at 1:00am

The Tennessee Titans head into Sunday's season finale with plenty of injuries that could benefit from rest, even though Titans coach Jeff Fisher insists the team will play to win against Tampa Bay, given that their playoff seed is not locked in.

Steve McNair's injured left ankle and strained right calf are both still a concern, though the quarterback did not do any additional damage in Sunday's win over Houston.

Tennessee will mostly go through a walk-through on Wednesday with a regular practice set for Thursday, giving McNair two full days to rest before attempting to practice.

There may be a bigger problem at wide receiver, however, where Derrick Mason suffered a fractured rib on the first series of Sunday's game.

Fisher said Mason will be questionable and might miss some practice time, but should be able to play with the injury.

Also, four other wideouts are banged up. Eddie Berlin is still bothered by a concussion that kept him out Sunday, while Tyrone Calico, Jake Schifino and Darrell Hill all have swelling in their knees.

That has the Titans on the lookout for a practice squad receiver.

Tennessee may also be in the market for a practice squad running back as well as Robert Holcombe has some damage in his hamstring from Sunday's game.

Cornerback Andre Dyson is bothered by a rib contusion as well.

Brown on the ground

Holcombe's injury opened the door for more playing time for Chris Brown, who had 69 yards on 10 carries Sunday. Brown and Eddie George will split time as the third-down back if Holcombe cannot play Sunday.

Tight end Shad Meier, who had a key block on George's 27-yard run vs. the Texans, would fill in at fullback.

Sticking with it

Fisher also said the Titans would likely stay with Lamont Thompson as the nickelback for the foreseeable future.

Fisher liked what Thompson did in the slot, meaning Lance Schulters will remain the safety on passing downs.

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