Two of the Tennessee Titans' most dependable defenders were spectators in Wednesday’s practice.
Both linebacker Keith Bulluck and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch were forced to watch the proceedings of a shortened practice Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game at Chicago. Bulluck, battling a rib injury, did manage to take part in a walk-through that lasted for about the last half hour of practice. But Vanden Bosch, still slowed by a groin injury that has now hampered him for a month, did only his rehab work.
Both players said they are day-to-day with their injuries, and neither sounded overly optimistic on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m probably day-to-day right now. That’s what I would say,” Bulluck said. “This the first time I can say my injury is a little more serious than I’m definitely used to, so we’ll see.”
Bulluck, who has only missed one game in his NFL career and has never missed a start since becoming a regular in 2002 — a span of 104 consecutive regular season games, cracked some rib cartilage in Sunday’s 19-16 victory over Green Bay. He left the field for a time, but returned to finish despite the pain.
“Something keeps poking out if I move the wrong way,” Bulluck said. “There’s a few things going on. I’m just going to do my best to get better and let it heal on its own.
“I’m sore, but I’m maintaining. I’m in real slow motion right now. I really had no anticipation, because I’ve never really had something seriously messed up with me. I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s just one of those things I’ll just play through and see what happens when I’m done. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be after the game, but there’s still some soreness and some looseness.”
He described the injury as including a slight rib dislocation that slips if he moves the wrong way. Asked about the possibility of playing with a flak jacket, Bulluck said he didn't know and would not put any equipment on until Sunday.
Just as concerning for the Titans is the situation with Vanden Bosch, who had a streak of 54 consecutive starts halted against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. He originally suffered a groin strain Oct. 5 at Baltimore, and while trying to make it back into the lineup full-time has had to leave games against Kansas City and Green Bay.
There is the theory that Vanden Bosch might be better off to shut it down for a time to let the injury better heal before he attempts to play again. That, he said, is a tough decision for him to make.
“A lot of people say that, and I understand where they’re coming from. But I want to do what’s best for this team,” Vanden Bosch said. “I don’t want to make any decisions that could hurt this team, but that’s not part of my makeup. I don’t have any shut down in me.
“It’s just something I’m going to have to work through, and if the day comes where it calls for rest, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ll rest it. But I want to be available, and I want to help this team win games.”
Vanden Bosch said the injury felt OK as he began Sunday’s game against the Packers, but worsened to the point where he had to leave.
“I felt good when the game started, but every play, there was a little bit of pain there,” Vanden Bosch said. “But it got to the point of where I didn’t feel like I could be effective and I couldn’t help the team anymore.”
Other injuries: Quarterback Kerry Collins was limited in Wednesday’s practice and sat out a couple of series. That opened the door for Vince Young to get some work with the first team for a couple of series.
“Kerry was limited at practice and Vince took the whole period, took two whole periods and was just great, did a great job,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “He knows and understands the game plan, made all the right throws and did very well. We’ve got confidence in Vince that he can step in [if Collins gets hurt].”
Cover guy: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated and said he doesn’t have any worries about the magazine’s famed cover jinx.
“I’d never even heard about that. I thought it was the Madden jinx. Now, if I’m on the cover of Madden in ’10, then I’ll be worried, but not with Sports Illustrated,” Haynesworth said.
Moving around: The Titans not only had a walk-through for the second half of Wednesday’s practice, but Fisher also is moving Thursday’s practice from its normal 11:30 a.m. slot to 4:05 p.m.
Welcome in: The Titans added defensive tackle Amon Gordon to the practice squad Wednesday. Gordon, 27, has spent time previously with Baltimore, Cleveland and Denver.