Kyle Vanden Bosch’s motor runs all the time when he is on the playing field.
So idling in neutral for most of the season with a groin injury has been torturous for the Tennessee Titans’ star defensive end.
Vanden Bosch was in and out of the Titans lineup for nearly two months before suffering another injury to his groin against Cleveland in early December, and finally underwent surgery in middle of last month to repair the injury.
On Wednesday, Vanden Bosch went through his first full practice since the surgery after going through half of Tuesday’s workout. Afterwards, Vanden Bosch pronounced himself ready to play this Saturday in the AFC Divisional Playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’ve tested it, and it’s good. It had progressed with a little more work every day and with a full practice today, it felt great,” Vanden Bosch said. “In my mind, it’s not a game-time decision now, it’s get geared up, because I’m going.”
Vanden Bosch originally suffered the injury in an Oct. 5 game, ironically, enough against the Ravens, exiting in the first half.
“I guess it’s just a coincidence that I’m back against them. But regardless of who we play against Saturday, I’m going to go as hard as I absolutely can,” Vanden Bosch said.
He had tried to play through the injury before finally being shut down for a time before re-injuring the groin against Cleveland.
“I’m as close to 100 percent as I’m going to be. There’s no pain. I feel explosive. I feel ready to go,” Vanden Bosch said.
Now, the big thing for Vanden Bosch is to try and get himself as game-ready as possible this week.
“The big thing for me this week is health-wise I feel great. I’m trying to go as hard as I can in practice to get back up to speed contact-wise and getting to use my hands, because I haven’t played that many plays this season,” he said. “So I’ve just been trying to get up to game speed as soon as possible.”
Vanden Bosch had been an ironman of sorts for the Titans in his first three years with the Titans, never missing a game until the groin injury. Right now, his mission is not to play every play on Saturday, but to play as many as he can as hard as he can.
“The comfort level I have is the depth we’ve developed. I can go as hard as I can, and if there’s three plays I’ve got to come out, then Jacob [Ford] can come in and do the same thing,” Vanden Bosch said. “I’m real comfortable with rolling in and out of the game and just giving it all I’ve got every single play.”
In addition, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, on basically the same timetable as Vanden Bosch as he makes his way back from a sprained MCL in his left knee, also went through a full practice on Wednesday.
BALL LIKELY OUT: While is scheduled to return to the Tennessee Titans lineup this weekend, the man who served as his primary backup could be out of Saturday’s game.
Dave Ball has not practiced since the week of the Titans’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a disc problem in his back, and doubts whether or not he will be a go Saturday when the Titans face the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
“I haven’t practiced all week, so I doubt I’ll be in there,” Ball said. “It’s frustrating, but we’re at this level in the playoffs, and I don’t want to go in there when I’m not healthy and not be able to be 100 percent. It’s better for me stay out with it if I’m not healthy and let the other healthier guys in.”
Ball, who was out of the NFL in 2007, said he has battled disc problems in his back since his college days at UCLA and his rookie year with the San Diego Chargers as well in 2004.
“I had bad discs in college, and I played all through college with bad discs,” Ball said. “My first year, I went on IR with a foot problem and I had surgery on my back. I’m no stranger to back pain. I kind of know what’s going on and I think I’m going to have to deal with it after the season.”
Ball’s injury problems come just as Vanden Bosch is scheduled to return to the lineup after undergoing groin surgery. Vanden Bosch said Wednesday he is a go for Saturday’s game.
Ball finished the regular season with 4.5 sacks and 51 total tackles.
He is taking a wait and see approach as to whether he might be available beyond this week.
“It’s just kind of a day-to-day thing. I’m not really worried about it all. We’ve got to win this game first of all, but if we end up and keep winning enough games,” Ball said. “If I feel good, I feel good, if I don’t, whatever. This year has been more than I could have ever dreamed of. I’m very proud about that.”
MAWAE TALKS: Titans center Kevin Mawae said he didn’t mean to cause such a stir by saying on Sirius NFL Radio on Tuesday that he would not play against the Ravens.
Mawae snapped left-handed for a second straight day and did some snaps with a brace on his injured right elbow. But there is still the strong likelihood that Leroy Harris would get the start against Baltimore Saturday.
“I am day-to-day. I didn’t mean to create a stir,” Mawae said. “I didn’t think it was such a big issue, but obviously, I’ve always been a guy that if you don’t practice, you don’t play. But we all know that Jeff [Fisher] is not necessarily that type of coach. But our goal is to have whoever is going to play get ready to play. Therefore, Leroy is the one getting a lot of reps right now, and my status is day-to-day until otherwise.”
Asked why he said he wouldn’t play in the interview, Mawae said, “I was just speaking off the cuff. It was just one of those deals. I don’t know. One comment, and I’ve got 100 people wanting to talk to me at media time. So here I am. I didn’t really believe it was that much to have such a stir.”
Mawae said if Harris has to play that it would be a team effort to have him up to speed and ready to react to whatever the Ravens’ defensive front might throw at him.
“Our job is to teach everybody on the line how to communicate in a way where everybody can understand it, and Leroy is at that stage,” Mawae said. “And maybe there is going to be a bit of delay in recognizing everything that a 14- or 15-year vet can see, but you’ve got Kerry Collins back there that’s going to help out. This is a team thing. This is not Leroy Harris trying to go win a game against the Baltimore Ravens. This is 11 guys working together trying to get the job done.”
Mawae said he did not see his injury as a season-ending one, and said that the left-handed snapping is something he has done in games in the past.
“I’ve done it before. It’s not a big deal. I’m out there doing it now. It’s just one of those deals,” he said. “It’s another tool in the toolbox. I’ve done it in games past when I’ve had some injuries to my snap hand side. Initially, it’s just a matter of polishing it up and getting it done again.”