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Mawae in Final Month of Recovery

Posted Jun 23, 2009

 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Not practicing this late in the offseason isn’t easy for veteran center Kevin Mawae.

The 15-year veteran had surgery in January to repair a partially torn triceps tendon in his right arm, the one he uses to snap the ball. Now he’s five months into a six-month recovery from major surgery.

“The doctors and trainers feel good about it,” Mawae said Tuesday. “For me, it’s a little boring because I have never been this late into the offseason rehabbing before. Mentally, I’m working through that, but we’ll see.”

The Titans got defensive end Jevon Kearse back on the field for individual drills Tuesday in Kearse’s comeback from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. But Tennessee will wrap up its offseason Friday with the last of its organized team activities with Mawae still limited to watching his teammates work without him.

Mawae is coming off an All Pro and Pro Bowl season in which he anchored an offensive line that set a franchise record allowing only 12 sacks, which tied Denver for fewest sacks allowed in the NFL in 2008. Mawae was hurt Dec. 21 in a win against Pittsburgh and delayed surgery for the chance to take the field for a play in case the Titans had reached the Super Bowl.

Instead, the AFC’s No. 1 seed lost a divisional playoff to Baltimore, so Mawae had surgery. Not the best timing for someone who turned 38 in January and is heading into the final year of his contract.

But Mawae, who also is president of the NFL Players Association, insists he’s not worried about missing an offseason of on-field practice with his teammates.

“The thing that concerns me most is being conditioned properly and being ready for the start of training camp or whenever it’s time for me to start,” he said.

And when will that be? The Titans’ first practice of training camp will be July 31 and their first preseason game is Aug. 9 against Buffalo in the Hall of Fame game.

Mawae isn’t making any predictions.

“We’re taking it as it comes. I’m only five months out this week since my operation. It’s my recovery time. We’ll see how things play out,” he said.

That means Mawae has been busy working on recovering the strength in his right arm, redefining the triceps muscle and working on his conditioning. He said he has spent as much time in the Titans’ offseason program this year as a year ago.

“The wait and see part is what’s going to happen over the next six to eight weeks,” he said.

Mawae has missed each of the Titans’ last two playoff games because of an injury. A strained calf muscle kept him out of a wild-card loss at San Diego after the 2007 season, and Leroy Harris replaced him against Baltimore. Harris was a fourth-round pick in 2007 out of N.C. State and has gotten all of the work with the first-team offensive line this offseason.

The offensive line is a strength of the Titans, and Mawae’s return from injury means that all five starters will be back. Right guard Jake Scott was the only addition a year ago as a free agent signee, and Mawae said that familiarity will help him pick up where they left off.

“We didn’t change the system. The communication’s not going to change. ... All the same codes, same calls, things like that. It’s a matter of getting back in there and timing, things like that, with myself,” he said.

NOTES: Receiver Paul Williams aggravated a groin muscle early Tuesday, and coach Jeff Fisher said he likely will be held out of the final two sessions this week. Rookie receiver Kenny Britt had to have his right hamstring massaged early and was backed down. Fisher said they don’t want a setback with their No. 1 draft pick. ... The offense struggled with lots of drops Tuesday, and cornerback Vincent Fuller had two interceptions with one on the sideline against Vince Young. Asked about the drops, Fisher said he thought receiver Lavelle Hawkins “forgot to bring his hands to practice.”

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