Nick Harper said he doesn’t know yet if he will be able to play Sunday against the New York Jets.
But the foot injury that sidelined him last week at Jacksonville came about through very unusual circumstances. It seems Harper had broken his ankle and did not know it until doctors informed him of it when he had off-season surgery on his right ankle.
It seems that when the injury healed on its own, calcium deposits formed where the crack and been and the ankle became inflamed.
“When I had my ankle surgery, the doc asked me if I’d ever broken my ankle before, and come to find out, my ligament was half torn off on the outside and broken on the inside and had a crack going down on the inside too,” Harper said. “I never knew any of that was in there. He said I had broken my ankle at one point. I didn’t know, because I don’t ever remember missing any time.”
Harper said he remembered the exact play against the Chicago Bears when the pain began, but even watched the film of the game and could not pinpoint what happened to his foot.
“We watched the play, because I knew the exact play when it happened and we don’t know if I just tweaked it,” Harper said. “It started out, I had an injury that had a crack in it. It healed on its own. I didn’t know it was broken, so it healed on its own and some of the calcium that built up on it, it just flared up on me. This is the first time it’s ever happened.”
Harper termed himself as “day-to-day” as has Titans coach Jeff Fisher, but said there is no sense in trying to rush back into the lineup and have the injury drag on for several weeks.
“There’s no rush. We’ve set ourselves up in pretty good position right now, so there’s no use in going out and letting it nag me all year,” Harper said. “We’re just gonna take it one week at a time. It just popped up week before last.”
Harper’s situation, along with Reynaldo Hill, who missed another day of practice Thursday because of a hip pointer, could leave the Titans a bit thin at cornerback. Eric King is out with a broken forearm, leaving Chris Carr, who had an interception last week against the Jaguars, to run with the first unit in practice and start if Harper is out again.
As for when King might return, Fisher offered no set timetable as to whether he would stay or head to injured reserve. He did acknowledge that King is lost for the regular season and would only be able to return for the playoffs, if that.
“I think you could assume that. If he returns, he could not return until after the regular season,” Fisher said.
The top candidate for a roster spot in the event the Titans feel they need emergency help would be practice squad cornerback Cary Williams, their seventh-round pick out of Washburn.
“I’m just going in every week like it’s an up week for me. I don’t take any days off or anything like that,” Williams said. “Hopefully, when my number is called, I’ll be ready.
“I’m just going to let the coaches be the coaches and leave it up to them.”
DROPPING IN: Members of the 101st Airborne Parachute Team from Fort Campbell, Ky., did their practice jumps in preparation for Sunday’s jump at LP Field Thursday and had an extra with them _ Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who made the jump with one of the parachutists onto the practice field.
The group landed on the middle practice field at Baptist Sports Park, with all members landing near the 50-yard line, near the start of practice. The exercise, especially the head coach's entrance apparently caught the players by surprise.
Fisher declined to comment on the jump after practice.
OTHER INJURIES: Linebacker Keith Bulluck returned to the practice field for the first time since tearing rib cartilage three weeks ago against Green Bay. Bulluck had played in both Titans games since the injury, but had not practiced until Thursday.
“I definitely feel more productive,” Bulluck said. “I’m just going to have to play through the pain. It didn’t pop out today during practice, which is good. But we weren’t physical at practice. I’ll just have to see on Sunday.”
Bulluck is likely to practice again Friday.
Several other Titans did not practice on Thursday, including several defensive linemen who were rested. That group included Jevon Kearse (knee), Jason Jones (foot) and William Hayes (knee). Kyle Vanden Bosch practiced for a second straight day.
Others who returned to practice after missing or being limited Wednesday included running back Quinton Ganther (hamstring), receiver Paul Williams (ankle) and running back LenDale White (calf).