Titans short on tight ends in Wednesday practice

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 6:34pm

The ankle injury that kept Jared Cook out of the season opener at Pittsburgh had him sidelined once again in Wednesday’s practice.

Cook did manage to do some running after practice, and admits he is eager to get back to play, something he hopes will happen when the Titans have their home opener Sunday against the Houston Texans.

“I’m ready to get back. It’s been lonely on the sidelines. It just don’t feel right,” Cook said.

Cook rolled his right ankle and got it stepped on against the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game on Aug. 29, and has not practiced since.

Cook led the Titans in preseason with 17 receptions, despite not playing in the preseason finale against Green Bay. Asked if the ankle was feeling better, Cook replied, “A little bit.”

The Titans also could be without Bo Scaife, who did not practice and was still limping a bit with his injured left knee, sustained in the third quarter of the opener. Only Alge Crumpler and Craig Stevens were available for Wednesday’s practice. Practice squad linebacker Mike Rivera was used on some scout team plays at tight end.

“I think everybody has got to do the best they can to just step up and come out and just help the team. I hope I can contribute a little bit, but it’s on Coach [Jeff] Fisher,” Cook said. “No matter what, it’s not on me. It’s on the coaches and trainers.”

Fisher would only say that neither Cook nor Scaife have been ruled out for the game, despite not practicing.

As for potentially being short-handed at tight end, quarterback Kerry Collins said the team will have to compensate in other ways, and says it can be done.

“It’s like anything else. You’ve got a guy that goes down, if he can’t play, then someone else is going to have to step up,” Collins said. “Craig Stevens is going to have to step up, the guys around him are going to step up, and I’m going to have to step up.

“You would have to make some big adjustments. I think we could handle it. Obviously, we’d use some different packages and different personnel and stuff. It kind of limits what you can do from multiple formations and all that. But we’ll kind of adjust on the run.”

More injuries

Linebacker David Thornton did not practice because of a knee injury suffered in the Titans’ 13-10 overtime loss at Pittsburgh. Thornton finished the game in Pittsburgh, but was taken out in nickel package situations in favor of Stephen Tulloch, apparently due to the injury.

Punter Craig Hentrich, listed on the injury report with a back problem, participated fully in Wednesday’s practice.

Also, practice squad defensive tackle Mitch King was not at practice on Wednesday. Instead he was at Baptist Hospital undergoing tests. Fisher declined to say what was wrong with King, but a league source indicated that the tests were only precautionary and that it was not a serious matter.

Not 100 percent yet

Receiver Nate Washington is on track to start for the Titans this weekend after being limited to 26 plays a week ago.

Washington said he is ready to go, but admits he still thinks about the hamstring he injured on Aug. 24. Washington had said at the time of the injury that he had never had suffered a hamstring injury before.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be behind me, because I was so confident in my stride. It was unconsciousness. I feel great, but the stride thing is still in my mind. But health-wise, I feel great,” Washington said. “No matter how many plays they throw at me, I’m feeling pretty good, and I’ll be able to handle what they throw at me.”