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Camp Notebook: Munchak's Update on Injuries to Akeem Ayers & Kendall Wright

Posted Aug 18, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Injuries suffered by Kendall Wright and Akeem Ayers could have been worse but will still take some time to heal, Titans coach Mike Munchak said Sunday.

Akeem Ayers, above, pressures Andy Dalton before Ayers left the game with an ankle injury. Damian Williams, below, had 65 receiving yards on four catches and is first in line to replace Kendall Wright while Wright deals with a sprained knee ligament.
Click here for a slideshow from Saturday's game.

Wright and Ayers were separately carted off the field at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati during Saturday’s 27-19 preseason loss to the Bengals.

Ayers left first with an ankle injury, and Wright suffered a sprained ligament in his knee after recording a catch during the two-minute drill. Neither is likely to play this week when the Titans host the Atlanta Falcons at LP Field at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24.

“(Ayers has) the ankle, so that’s hard to judge,” Munchak said. “It’s one of those deals you see how he heals and how sore he is today. But, there’s nothing concerning that he’ll be out a length of time. Those are frustrating injuries because you just really don’t know.”

Munchak said Patrick Bailey is likely to start at strongside linebacker in place of Ayers, and Kamerion Wimbley is likely to fill the edge-rushing role that Ayers has in the nickel defensive package.

Wright had four receptions for 44 yards and may have added to that if he had stayed in during the pass-heavy two-minute drill.

“He was having a really good game,” Munchak said. “He was getting open, running around well, and we know he’s going to be one of our playmakers. That’s hard. Luckily, it looks like it’s something that’s not going to be too bad.”

Damian Williams, who had four receptions for a team-best 65 yards against the Bengals, is likely to be first in line to replace Wright, Munchak said.

“Damian’s done a great job. He’s caught some tough balls the last two games,” Munchak said. “He’s had a good training camp and has done everything we’ve asked of him. We’re lucky we have a handful of receivers that we do have that someone can step up next week and play more with the first group.”

The other significant injury from Saturday’s game involved a broken hand suffered by defensive end Ropati Pitoitua.

“He’s having surgery tomorrow on it. It’s something he’ll be able to cast and play with,” Munchak said. “It’s just going to limit him obviously. It’s going to be frustrating having that type of injury. That’s something we didn’t find out about until after the game. He can probably play this week if he had to play. I would imagine we wouldn’t play him and he’d play the following week.”

BACK IN ACTION: Munchak said center Brian Schwenke “may have a chance” to make his NFL debut against the Falcons, Taylor Thompson “should be OK” and Daimion Stafford “will have a shot” at returning to action.

The coach said it’s also possible that Delanie Walker will probably be removed from the physically unable to perform list and begin participating in individual drills this week, but Kevin Walter is not to that point yet.

BATTLES CONTINUE: Competitions for the center and one of the cornerback spots are expected to continue this week.

Fernando Velasco started at center against Cincinnati, and Rob Turner started against Washington. Veteran Chris Spencer has also been in the mix, as will Schwenke once he’s healthy. Tommie Campbell started at right corner against the Bengals, where Alterraun Verner started against the Redskins.  

Munchak said it’s generally preferred to have opening-day starters determined by the third preseason game because that’s the preseason game in which they play the longest.

“We still have a couple days here, Monday and Tuesday, where we’re going to do some things before we get into Atlanta (preparations),” Munchak said. “The few spots where we feel there are some questions with that we’d like to lean toward that way of getting the guys out there, because, as we all know, the fourth preseason game you play less time.”

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