Marcus Mariota waiting for the nerve in his injured throwing arm to 'settle down

Marcus Mariota said he believes he is close, but weakness and numbness remain in his hand

Since it is Nashville, perhaps it is only right that Marcus Mariota used a musical reference to describe the nerve injury that is causing weakness and numbness in his throwing hand.

“The way they explained it to me, is when you strum a guitar string. When that string settles down, that’s kind of similar to the way my nerve it. My nerve has kind of been strummed and it’s going to take a while to settle it down,” Mariota told reporters after Wednesday’s practice.

The Titans quarterback suffered the injury on a hit from Miami’s William Hayes in a season-opening loss. He was held out of last week’s game against Houston, giving way to backup Blaine Gabbert, who helped the Titans to a 20-17 win over the Texans.

This week, both Mariota and Titans coach Mike Vrabel are playing a waiting game to see if the quarterback can make the start Sunday in Jacksonville.

“I think that’s all you can do, is make sure to get guys ready that could play in the game for anything that may come up. Then, have to make a decision that you know is in the best interest of the team later in the week,” said Vrabel, who added that Mariota’s situation is about the same.

Mariota did open up a bit more when questioned about the injury and his situation.

“I wake up and the first thing I do is kind of mess around with my hand. Honestly I think it’s close, but I’m really just taking it one day at a time,” Mariota said.

Mariota was wearing a glove as he threw in practice on Wednesday in limited work and indicated that the glove is to help with his grip. Mariota added that while only a couple of fingers are numb, his entire hand remains weak. He said he is trying to rebuild strength in the hand.

“Honestly, it’s the whole hand, but the numbness and tingly-ness is a couple of fingers. The weakness is kind of the whole hand and that’s what I’ve been working on,” Mariota said.

Other injuries

Left tackle Taylor Lewan, who missed last week with a concussion, was back on the practice field Wednesday, and did some individual work with Coach Mike Vrabel.

Lewan must clear the league’s concussion protocol with a checkup by an independent doctor in order to clear the last hurdle to play this week against Jacksonville.

“I think he’s close, he just still has to get that last, I guess, clearance from the outside doctor, which hopefully will come tomorrow. Then we can move forward, but it was good to get him out there and doing some stuff today,” Vrabel said.

Also, right tackle Jack Conklin, who has yet to play this season as he recovers from January ACL surgery, picked up his reps a bit on Wednesday.

Safety Kendrick Lewis, who has been out a month with a foot injury, returned to the practice field for some limited work Wednesday.

Meanwhile, tackle Dennis Kelly, hospitalized last week with a virus, remains out of the facility, and will need a doctor’s clearance to begin practicing again this week.

Running back David Fluellen was out of practice with a groin injury.