A spine doctor told Mariota (neck/foot) he shouldn't play in Sunday's game against the Colts, Paul Kuharsky of 104.5 The Zone Nashville reports.
Mariota suffered a stinger on the right side of his neck the previous week, leading to numbness and tingling in his throwing arm for a third time this season. He dealt with similar symptoms in September and then again in November, though the first time it was reported as an elbow injury rather than any problem with his neck. Mariota likely will require additional medical evaluation during the offseason, not to mention a prolonged period of rest. His fifth-year option for 2019 is guaranteed for injury only, but the Titans likely will keep him under contract even if he gains medical clearance before the start of the league year in March. It's unclear if the neck injuries are a short-term problem or something he will always be susceptible to.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network previously relayed that Mariota would warm up with the intention of playing through the stinger on the right side of his neck in the regular-season finale, but Mortensen's report suggests the Titans aren't yet comfortable clearing him for action. Citing sources, Mortensen notes that Mariota's stinger puts him at risk of further damage to his neck, so it's expected Tennessee will err on the side of caution, even with a playoff berth up for grabs. Mariota's status won't be known officially until the Titans release their inactive list 90 minutes prior to the 8:20 p.m. EST kickoff, but assuming the top signal-caller is unavailable for the contest, Blaine Gabbert would garner the starting nod for the all-important Week 17 game.
Mariota (neck/foot) will warm up pre-game with the intention of playing Sunday against the Colts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
Mariota, who is questionable with a stinger, will have a better idea about his status after warming up. He's not expected to be 100 percent but is hoping to play. Whether or not he plays, the Titans plan to lean on their running game behind the renascent Derrick Henry.
With Mariota still limited after suffering a stinger in Week 16, coach Mike Vrabel indicated the team will have further discussions regarding who will start at quarterback in Sunday's win-and-in showdown against Indianapolis. "About the same as it was yesterday," Vrabel said of Mariota's practice performance Friday. "(He was) limited, and we gave him some stuff to do, and he did some stuff. So we'll kind of just keep seeing where it goes, and figure out who gives us the best chance, and how he feels. We want to make sure he can go out there and do his job at a high level." With all that in mind, Mariota is a dicey fantasy option in Week 17, given that the Titans kick off at 8:20 ET on Sunday. Considering the significance of the game, he'll no doubt do everything in his power to play, but if Mariota doesn't progress to the point needed to do so, Blaine Gabbert would start in his place.
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