Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said he will not need surgery to fix the nerve injury in his throwing arm.
Mariota, who missed Sunday night's season-ending loss to the Indianapolis Colts that would have put the Titans in the playoffs had they won, said that the team and independent spine surgeon Robert Watkins determined that Mariota should not play because he was risking further and possible permanent damage.
“It was allowing time for the nerve to heal. Unfortunately, I've had several nerve injuries through the course of the year, and it just left me susceptible to a bigger injury. When it came down to it, that through time and some rest, the nerve should calm down and should fully recover,” Mariota said. “I saw him (Watkins) initially after the Indianapolis came and he saw through an MRI and imaging after the game with Washington what I had done and basically made his recommendation from that.
“It led to a point where they felt I was susceptible for a bigger injury. It is what it is. I'm very blessed that it's not surgically I'll have to do. It's just going to take some time.”
Mariota said sitting out the game was a very tough for him, watching while his teammates lost to the Colts, 33-17. But he said he had to follow the recommendations of the team and Watkins.
“He is considered one of the top neck, spinal and nerves (doctors). It was recommended through the team, and his recommendation ultimately was one of the factors that led into the decision,” Mariota said. “For what it's worth, you don't always agree with some of those decisions, and for me, I was not happy with it, but ultimately what happened was I wasn't able to be out there with the guys. “When you have an opportunity to play a game that you love, an someone tells you you shouldn't, that is one of the hardest things an athlete has to go through.”
While surgery will not be required for Mariota to recuperate, the Titans quarterback dodged the issue when asked about whether or not he had any fractures with his injury.
“I don't need to get into all of that,” Mariota said. After Mariota sort of answered the question about a possible fracture, a Titans team spokesman asked that the questions be focused on football. Mariota said that with rest he should be able to take part in the Titans off-season program, which begins in April.