Jake Locker practices, tests injured thumb, still unclear if quarterback will play vs. Houston

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In this Oct. 12, 2014 photo, injured Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, right, stands with quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (12) before an NFL football game between the Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville, Tenn. Whitehurst has been the Titans' quarterback since starter Locker was injured. Backup quarterbacks collect a paycheck for standing on the sideline holding a clipboard, then, at the drop of a starting quarterback, hit the field ready to go. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee's Jake Locker practiced on Wednesday but his status for this weekend's game against Houston remains unclear.

Locker left practice without stopping for his weekly meeting with the media. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says the quarterback didn't take questions because the Titans will know more about his status Thursday.

"He did pretty much everything," Whisenhunt said of Locker. "He'll be listed as limited just because I don't want it to flare up tomorrow and be an issue, but he did a lot today."

Whisenhunt wouldn't compare how much Locker practiced Wednesday compared to a week ago. Locker threw Tuesday with the Titans wanting to see the quarterback throw in consecutive days. Locker has missed two straight games with an injured right thumb, and Whisenhunt says he doesn't want Locker's thumb to flare up Thursday and be an issue.

Locker wasn't the only quarterback who didn't talk to reporters. Charlie Whitehurst, who has started three of the last four games, also wasn't available. Rookie Zach Mettenberger wasn't in the locker room while it was open to media.

Houston reporters asked Whisenhunt on a conference call Wednesday if the Titans are making a quarterback change to Mettenberger, and the coach said he didn't know where such talk was coming from.

"Nothing has changed from our quarterback situation," Whisenhunt said.

The Titans have been trying to be patient with Locker, who has nine games left on his contract. The eighth pick overall in 2011, Locker has missed 17 of a possible 39 starts since being named Tennessee's starting quarterback because of various injuries.

Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started nine games with Tennessee last season before being cut in March, and now he's the starter in Houston. He remains friends with Locker and said it's unfortunate that the Titans quarterback is dealing with more injuries this season.

"Everybody knows how hard he works and how tough he is," Fitzpatrick said. "A couple of unfortunate things here and there that happened this year. It's just one of those things that happens in the game of football. You get dinged up. I just know that if he can be on the field, he'll be out there."

But Locker has finished only three games this season. With the Titans at 2-5 having lost five of their last six games, fans wanting a reason to show up for home games have been calling for Tennessee to start Mettenberger to see if the rookie could be this franchise's quarterback to speed up rebuilding.

Whisenhunt said Monday that Mettenberger had practiced some with starters the previous two weeks because of Locker's injured thumb.

"I've worked with all three of them," Titans receiver Kendall Wright said. "I like what I see with all of them, so whoever they go with I think we'll be good. At the end of the day throughout practice, we catch passes from all of them."

Notes: RB Shonn Greene (hamstring) returned to practice after missing the last two games and was limited along with DE Ropati Pitoitua (left hand) and TE Taylor Thompson (right knee). CB Coty Sensabaugh (right knee) and LB Quentin Groves (ankle) did not practice.


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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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