Bo Scaife’s playoff debut will have to wait for another season, as the Tennessee Titans placed the tight end on injured reserve Wednesday after he suffered a lacerated liver in Sunday night’s 16-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Scaife suffered the injury on a jarring hit from Colts backup safety Mike Giordano that knocked the ball into the air. Titans receiver Justin Gage caught the ricochet out of air for a 21-yard gain in the second quarter.
Scaife was down on the play and helped off the field, but later returned to finish the game. It was Monday night and Tuesday that the seriousness of the injury came to light, ending with Scaife spending time in the hospital.
“When we returned, he had a hard night and was not feeling well in the morning,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “We took him over and did some tests and we discovered that he had a lacerated liver. He was hospitalized, and he was released from the hospital this morning. The doctors cleared him to go home. ... It’s an injury where have to avoid contact and exercise and such for four to six weeks.”
Scaife is third on the Titans with 46 receptions for 421 yards and has served as a security blanket oftentimes for quarterback Vince Young, who was his teammate at the University of Texas.
“I feel like I was one of the guys that got him hurt,” said Young, who threw the high pass that Scaife went after on the play where he was injured. “That’s my brother. …We have some great guys that are going to come in and step up for him.”
The Titans promoted Jamie Petrowski from their practice squad to replace Scaife on the active roster, but the players most likely to see playing time in Scaife’s stead are Ben Troupe and Casey Cramer. Ben Hartsock is expected to remain the on-the-line tight end.
Troupe, who has just five catches this season and only 18 the past two years, is happy to have another chance.
“It’s always good to get in there and have a chance to play,” Troupe said. “It’s not just me. It’s all the tight ends. Coaches talk about stepping up, … so we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”
The Titans also signed Leonard Stephens, another tight end, to the practice squad.
WILLIAMS HURT: In addition to Scaife, the Titans may have suffered another blow in Wednesday’s practice when receiver Roydell Williams went out with a twisted ankle.
Fisher indicated that the Titans are “still evaluating” Williams, who suffered the injury trying to catch a pass from Kerry Collins in team drills.
After being down for several minutes, Williams eventually limped off the indoor practice field and into the trainer’s room to be examined.
Williams is tied with Justin Gage for the team lead in receptions with 55 this season and has 719 total receiving yards.
Other Titans who did not practice included center guard Benji Olson (back), Kevin Mawae (calf), defensive end Antwan Odom (team decision) and running backs Chris Brown (back) and LenDale White (knee), who was also excused for personal reasons. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (hamstring) also did not practice, though Fisher said he was hopeful Haynesworth would practice today. Haynesworth said he has not suffered any setbacks.
LINGERING: Shawne Merriman, who alleged that Fisher ordered a hit on him then said it was carried out by Mawae and David Stewart, in addition to an alleged crack back block by Hartsock, backed down somewhat from that on Wednesday with a rematch looming.
“I never even said that. After the game I said that people came up and told me,” Merriman said. “I think it was more put out that I said that. That’s what I heard. I didn’t know that what happened is what was said for sure. I still don’t know, but at the same time we’ve just got to go out and play football.”
Merriman missed the Chargers next game with a knee sprain, and Mawae and Stewart were fined by the NFL for their hit on Merriman, who had knocked Vince Young down after a handoff.
Fisher said he felt it was more heat of the moment circumstances that caused Merriman’s reaction.
“I’ve been around a long time and I’m all too familiar with the emotions of the game and the heat of the battle type things,” Fisher said. “I just chalked it up as that. I voted for him for the Pro Bowl. He’s a great player. It wasn’t an intentional hit on the quarterback. … I wasn’t offended by it.”
WE’LL SEE: Some comments from the Chargers after their 23-17 victory alleging that the Titans would be watching the playoffs from the couch while San Diego played on, didn’t bother Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who said the Titans would try to have an answer Sunday.
“We ain’t gonna let that get under our skin,” defensive tackle Haynesworth said. “The better team is going to win this Sunday. We’re going to go out there and play hard and see who’s sitting on who’s couch watching who.”