The Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers released their first injury report on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s AFC showdown. The Titans received some good news with the return of Denico Autry. The likes of Kristian Fulton, Treylon Burks and Robert Woods were absent from practice.
Autry last featured for the Titans against the Green Bay Packers on November 17. He’s officially listed as a limited participant. Tennessee’s pass-rushing productivity has fallen off a cliff since losing Autry. The Titans have recorded just three quarterback sacks in three contests since then. Autry’s return could get Tennessee’s defense trending back in the appropriate direction.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed that Burks remains in the concussion protocol. Burks sustained a scary-looking head injury against the Philadelphia Eagles. Burks still has time to clear protocol prior to Sunday’s showing versus the Chargers. Tennessee’s anemic passing attack desperately needs their first-year playmaker back in the lineup.
Starting inside linebacker Zach Cunningham also returned to practice on Wednesday. The Titans triggered Cunningham’s return-to-practice window prior to practice. Cunningham doesn’t appear on the injury report because he isn’t technically on the 53-man roster. Cunningham’s return would be a welcome sight for a linebacker core that’s also without David Long Jr. Monty Rice and Dylan Cole have been playing bad football as of late.
Fulton continues to miss practice with an ongoing groin injury. Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen needs his No. 1 cornerback roaming his secondary. At least rookie cornerback Tre Avery returned to practice as a limited participant following a concussion.
No. 2 running back Dontrell Hilliard was also absent. Hilliard suffered a scary looking neck injury on Sunday. Hilliard has captured an underrated role as Tennessee’s pass-catching back. The Titans’ offense will miss what he offers. Undrafted free agent running back Julius Chestnut should continue being active on game day if Hilliard misses time. Fellow special teams contributor C.J. Board did not practice with a rib injury. Tennessee’s special teams units would also miss Board and Hilliard.
Derwin James is the lone Chargers starter that missed Wednesday’s practice with a quad injury. Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day was a limited participant with a knee injury. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) and right tackle Trey Pipkins (knee) were also limited participants.