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Notebook: Ringer Returns to Action

Posted Sep 19, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Javon Ringer didn’t realize the potential severity of the infection that required hospitalization, two surgeries and several days of wearing a “suction” device attached to his elbow to remove “the mess” that was in his arm.

The infection took hold the Friday and strengthened the Saturday before Tennessee opened the regular season against New England and sidelined the running back all last week. Ringer, who returned to the practice field Wednesday, said he first thought of the infection as an annoyance but later learned of its significance.

“I was OK until after that first surgery,” Ringer said, “and they were telling me kind of what they did and they were explaining to me how they wanted to get to that infection and get it drained out of my arm before it got to my bloodstream because if it would have gotten into my bloodstream, then I probably would have lost my arm.

“That’s when I kind of got a little freaked out about it,” Ringer continued. “I’m OK now. They had this little suction thing up against my arm that was kind of pumping out a lot of the mess that was in my arm. I was hooked up to that for five days after I got out of the hospital, and I’m OK now.”

Ringer is eager to regain the conditioning he had before the infection and play in the first game of his fourth NFL season. He fully participated in practice and did most of his work on the scout team Wednesday. He said he benefitted from a series of sprints that the team did after practice.

“It definitely felt really good (to practice again),” Ringer said. “Dealing with the infection that I had, which was kind of like a freak thing, because they said it probably just came from like a little scratch on my elbow. It just happened from, that first week when we were playing the Patriots, from that Friday night to Saturday afternoon, my arm got huge and it kind of snuck up on me.”

The Titans, who opened the season with consecutive losses, return to LP Field Sunday to host the Detroit Lions (1-1).

Ringer and other Titans players said the team returned to practice Wednesday with a calm focus on making improvements and identifying what they did well and what they want to do better.

“There’s no panic mode or anything right now,” Ringer said. “Being 0-2 is not a good thing, but (we’re) definitely not panicking right now. The only thing we can do is keep moving forward and just continue working on things in practice that we need to show on the field. We’ve just got to continue to stay on the field as an offense, moving the chains and having the big plays come.”

NUMBERS GAME: A stat widely used this week is that 22 of 184 teams (12 percent) that started a season 0-2 since 1990 have made the playoffs.

Will Witherspoon, who shifted from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker in place of Colin McCarthy at San Diego, said he isn’t putting much stock in those numbers.

“I’ve heard it and understood it, but whatever, that’s not the way I think,” Witherspoon said. “I don’t think like that, I don’t think about that, and that’s not what we’re about. I think every man in this locker room to a man is going to tell you, ‘Alright, so this is where we are. What are we going to do about getting out of it?”

Receiver Kenny Britt said the Titans have a lot to look forward to this season, but they have to keep a good attitude as they make progress. Britt played in limited situations at San Diego in his first football game in nearly a year, but his role is expected to increase each week, Titans coach Mike Munchak said.

“One thing about an 0-2 start, people get in a slump and start pointing fingers, that’s something we can’t do, and we know we can’t do that,” Britt said. “We’ve got a long season ahead of us, and those two games right there, we’ve got to put that behind us and move on.”

Six teams started 0-2, six teams started 2-0 and a record 20 teams started 1-1 this season. Last year, seven teams started 2-0, seven started 0-2 and 18 started 1-1. Four of the seven that started 2-0 made the playoffs, and no team that started 0-2 did in 2011.

Kamerion Wimbley, who joined the Titans this offseason, said he has confidence the team can reverse its current course.

“I believe in my teammates and the coaching staff here,” Wimbley said. “I feel like we have the players to be able to win games and we have the coaches to be able to win games. The first two games didn’t go the way we thought or wanted them to go, but there’s still a lot of games left. We have to take it one game at a time and see where it goes.”

Munchak said the team is disappointed with how it’s played so far, but players have had experience overcoming a tough stretch before. The Titans twice lost two games in a row in Munchak’s first season but finished with a 9-7 record. The second-year head coach thinks the Titans have the right mindset and approach to move forward.

“We knew these were good football teams we lost to, but obviously we all feel we should have played much better than we have,” Munchak said. “That’s a good thing that we all realize it, I think. Then we came out here with good attitudes and working hard, that’s what you’d expect a team to do. We just need to go out and have some success this weekend.”

When a reporter asked Munchak why he appeared so calm, he said he believes it’s important for a head coach to deliver messages with a demeanor that conveys the content of those messages.

“My job is to stay calm,” Munchak said. “I shouldn’t be the guy yelling and screaming and being out of control. I think they need to see a guy that is calm and understands what we’re doing and has confidence that we’re not panicking. I think when you start screaming, yelling and hollering, you don’t have an answer. You don’t know what to say, so you start screaming, yelling and knocking things over. … My message is delivered the way I feel is the best way to do it.”

MCCARTHY SHEDS BOOT: McCarthy on Wednesday said he’s making progress on the ankle injury he suffered in the second quarter against New England, but he doesn’t know when he will return to action.

“I’m not sure. I’m just going by what the trainers have me doing,” McCarthy said. “I’m in there every day working and just trying to get back on the field and help the team win.”

McCarthy wore a walking boot from shortly after the injury occurred until Monday when he saw the doctor again.

“We did a lot of work in the pool today, working with (strength and conditioning coach Steve) Watterson and our trainers and just improving day-to-day,” McCarthy said. “It feels better, haven’t had any, you know, nagging pains or that kind of thing, so we’re taking it in steps and it’s getting better, so I’m just staying positive.”   

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