Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch’s situation was termed “day-to-day” Monday by Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.
Vanden Bosch has been battling a groin strain since Oct. 5 in Baltimore, and was inactive for one game and has been unable to finish three more, including Sunday's 19-16 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Now, as the 8-0 Titans prepare to face the Chicago Bears, the question is will he now take a more prudent course and hold Vanden Bosch out of practice or perhaps even another game or two for the injury to fully heal.
“We are obviously looking at the situation very closely and we’re going to take it day-to-day,” Fisher said. “We haven’t ruled him out for the game, but it will be a day-to-day thing this week.
“He’s getting better. His activity on the practice field and his attempts to play did not set him back. It’s just the nature of the injury.”
Fisher said there is no magic way to treat such an injury in order to accelerate the healing process.
“In this particular case, these things aren’t easy,” Fisher said. “If there was a precise answer or procedure or protocol, then we would adhere to it. What we’re trying to do is get a good player on the field and keep him on the field. We’re going to take it day-to-day.”
After the game on Sunday, Vanden Bosch offered that making hard cuts and turns are tough on him right now.
“I feel like I can run straight ahead, but when I have to make extreme cuts and drive off it, it’s tough,” he said.
The Titans were fortunate Sunday in that when Vanden Bosch went out in the second quarter that backups Jacob Ford (two sacks and a forced fumble) and Dave Ball (one sack) filled in capably.
Still, Vanden Bosch, as a Pro Bowl end, is a difference maker on the Titans defense and usually calls out a lot of the defensive instructions on the line.
“He changes games,” Fisher said. “When you’ve got a game-changer that’s on the sidelines, you miss that production. The ball comes out much quicker when Kyle is on the field, because he’s going to collapse the pocket. He’s going to make a lot of chase plays.”
Linebacker David Thornton admits it is an adjustment playing without Vanden Bosch, but that the backups did a good job filling on Sunday against the Packers.
“When you have a great player like Kyle, who is a non-stop great motor type player, he’s a leader,” Thornton said. “He’s our defensive captain. He’s a vocal guy. It’s tough to replace someone like that. I think the great thing about our defensive line is we have a great coach who does a great job preparing the younger players when the opportunity comes. … They’re not Kyle Vanden Bosch, but at the same time, they can go out and be productive for this team.”
OTHER INJURIES: Linebacker Keith Bulluck managed to finish the game, as he returned from a second-quarter rib injury, but could be limited this week in practice, according to Fisher.
“He’s going to be a little sore. I don’t know how much he’ll practice. It’ll be day-to-day, but we certainly haven’t ruled him out for the ballgame,” Fisher said.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse missed some time in the first half as he was kicked in the calf. That injury apparently should not be an issue this week in preparation for the Chicago Bears.
FAREWELL: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth issued a statement Monday regarding the forced resignation of his college coach Phil Fulmer at the University of Tennessee.
“I am sad to hear about the resignation of Coach Fulmer at the end of the season. It is a shame, because they are losing more than a football coach,” Haynesworth said. “He has helped a lot of players and people, including myself, to be the successes they are today. I guess in the grand scheme, winning is important. I hope the coach they do find will be as good a person and mentor as Coach Fulmer and who will have the well being of the players’ in mind, and not just winning games and advancing his own career.”
Fulmer spent 17 years as the Vols head coach and Haynesworth played for him from 1999-2001.
Fisher also commented on Fulmer’s departure, saying, “"I've spent time with Coach over the years, and obviously I'm a big fan of their program in watching what they've done. I know it's very, very difficult. He'll be OK. He's done a terrific job. He's a really, really good coach and a good person. I've enjoyed my time with him."
LITTLE TIME: Running back Rafael Little will be activated into the three-week window to practice and be evaluated. The Titans will have 21 days to determine whether or not to add Little to the 53-man roster or leave him on the non-football injury reserve list.