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Notebook: Kendall Wright Determined to Play

Posted Dec 26, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans rookie Kendall Wright’s official status for Sunday’s season finale is yet to be determined, but in his mind there’s no doubt about it.

“I’m playing. There’s no chance that I’ll sit out this game,” Wright said after Wednesday’s practice.

Wright, who leads the Titans with 62 receptions this season, injured his ribs Dec. 17 when he landed awkwardly after trying to catch a deep pass. The injury forced him to miss this past week’s game at Green Bay.

Tennessee (5-10) returns to action by hosting AFC South rival Jacksonville (2-13) at LP Field, and Wright doesn’t want to watch from the sidelines.

“I’ve never missed a game in my life since I was playing sports until last week, so it was hard for me to sit out there, losing, and know you can’t do anything to help on the offensive side of the ball,” Wright said. “It hurt me, so I just did what I had to do to keep getting my ribs healthy to get back out there soon.”

Wright needs 10 receptions Sunday to tie Bill Groman’s franchise rookie record for receptions in a season. He had five catches for 48 yards in his first game against the Jaguars, as the Titans had 261 yards passing but struggled to finish drives with touchdowns.

Tennessee made six trips inside the Jacksonville 25-yard-line but settled for five field goal attempts (four successful) and one touchdown from Jake Locker to Kenny Britt in the fourth quarter.

“You’ve got to finish drives in every game,” Britt said. “We were moving the ball but got stopped near the red zone. Hopefully we’ve got some players out there to make some plays in the red zone that will get us ahead and keep us ahead.”

Locker and the Titans want to bounce back from Sunday’s struggles against the Packers and finish the season with a win. He said he will try to build on what he gained from his first game against the Jaguars on Nov. 25.

“You have an idea of who they are, personnel-wise and scheme-wise a little bit,” Locker said, “and you can really focus in on some of the finer details of what they’re doing and try and prepare yourself that much more.”

Locker said Wright has “progressed nicely.”

“We’ll see how it goes throughout the rest of the week,” Locker said. “As you guys know, he’s a playmaker for us and he’s come up big in a lot of situations this year. It’s always nice to have him out there.”

CJ, HARPER REST ANKLES: Titans running backs Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper did not practice Wednesday so they could rest ankle injuries they suffered in Green Bay.

“You hope the two of them will be able to practice tomorrow, (Johnson) and (Harper), and see where they’re at,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “CJ hasn’t missed a game, so you can’t imagine him missing a football game. I would assume he’ll be back on Sunday.”

Johnson is 168 rushing yards — a number he’s exceeded in five separate games in his career — away from becoming the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 7,000 yards in his first five seasons.

Johnson is currently in third place in franchise history behind Earl Campbell (6,995 yards from 1978-82) and Eddie George (6,874 yards from 1996-2000).  

PLAY IT SAFE: Craig Stevens and Colin McCarthy did not practice Wednesday because of concussions.

Stevens suffered his during the game against the Packers, and McCarthy suffered his in Tennessee’s first game against Jacksonville. McCarthy has not played since that game, and Munchak said he expects the second-year linebacker to be “very questionable” against the Jaguars.

The Titans are more in wait-and-see mode on Stevens. Although they are already without Jared Cook at the position, Munchak said the Titans will be just as cautious with Stevens as they have been with McCarthy.

“The concern with concussions is that guys won’t admit that they don’t feel normal and they keep playing with it,” Munchak said. “That’s what has gone on with the history of the game, guys don’t want to say anything because they want to play. I think (McCarthy’s) gotten to where his is the fact that he is letting us know. (McCarthy) tried to get back, and I think he’s realizing that trying to get on the field, he’s not getting better right now. We just have to be real careful there. There’s no reason not to be. We haven’t played him for that reason.”

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