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Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is considered a “long shot” to return to the field this season after undergoing ankle surgery this week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
ESPN’s Turron Davenport reported earlier this week that Tannehill would “very likely” be out for the season because of the injury.
Tannehill suffered the injury in a 17-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday after Khalil Mack landed on his right foot during the first quarter. He missed one series before returning to finish the game.
The 34-year-old injured the same ankle in a 19-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 23 and missed the following two games while recovering.
Rookie quarterback Malik Willis started those contests—a Week 8 win over the Houston Texans and a Week 9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs—completing 11-of-26 passes for 135 yards and one interception, in addition to rushing for 52 yards on 13 carries.
Tannehill wasn’t having the best season before being sidelined for the second time. In 12 games, he completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,536 yards and 13 touchdowns against six interceptions. His 13 touchdown passes are the lowest he’s had in a season since his rookie year with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.
The Titans will turn to Willis again to finish out the season if Tannehill doesn’t return. Tennessee sits atop the AFC South with a 7-7 record, but the second-place Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) are knocking at the door behind a great performance from second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence during the second half of the campaign.
Star running back Derrick Henry figures to have a more significant role in the offense with Tannehill out. When the veteran quarterback was sidelined during Weeks 8 and 9, Henry rushed for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 49 carries.
Still, the Titans don’t have the easiest schedule to finish out the regular season. While they’re set to play the Texans on Saturday, they’ll have to face the 10-4 Dallas Cowboys and the surging Jaguars to close out the year.
The Jags already beat the Titans on the road, meaning that their matchup in Jacksonville at TIAA Bank Field on Jan. 8 could determine which team makes the postseason.
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