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CT scan shows hematoma on QB's sternum

10/25/2004 - Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair is hurting, frustrated and just wants to get healthy.

For now, the Tennessee Titans will only say he's day-to-day.

McNair bruised his sternum for the third time in five weeks in Sunday's 20-3 loss at Minnesota. The latest hit didn't send him to a hospital like the first one on Sept. 26 did, but he spent three quarters on the sideline in enough pain he could only take shallow
breaths.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that a CT scan showed a hematoma on McNair's sternum and that the quarterback was still quite sore.

Whether McNair rests Sunday when the Titans (2-5) host the Cincinnati Bengals is uncertain. Fisher listed McNair as questionable the week the quarterback spent two nights in a hospital and then deactivated him before a loss at San Diego.

The Titans have their bye Nov. 7, which would offer McNair a chance to rest.

"We've discussed it," Fisher said. "We'll consider it, but we'll see how he is. When he was a little sore last week, we held him out of practice. He came back ... and was fine. He's going to have to work through this. We'll just list him as day-to-day."

The earlier chest injury was lower than the sternum. This time, McNair was sandwiched on the first play of the second quarter with Vikings tackle Chris Hovan hitting him low from behind while teammate Kevin Williams came in high and hard, even catching McNair in the head.

No flag was thrown and Fisher said there should have been, except an offensive lineman apparently obscured the play from the referee.

McNair, who was not available for comment Monday, said the hit was enough to cause a relapse. The sternum will keep troubling him until he rests enough for his chest to heal properly, something that won't happen if he keeps playing.

"There's a fine line between my health and trying to go out there and play and make the sacrifice, but at the same time I have to be smart about it," he said.

McNair has been a poster boy in the NFL for playing through injuries.

He has played hurt so often the Titans devoted a full page to his different injuries in this year's media guide. A highlight of his career came in December 2002 when he couldn't practice for five straight weeks but still led Tennessee to a 5-0 mark in that stretch to reach the playoffs.

But McNair was intercepted four times last week, and backup Billy Volek added three interceptions and a fumble in the loss to Minnesota.

Tennessee has been devastated by injuries, and the list grew in the Titans' fifth loss in six weeks.

Defensive end Carlos Hall hurt his right knee and may need surgery to clean the joint for the second time in three seasons. Running back Chris Brown had an MRI on his left foot Monday for turf toe that may keep him out of practice this week.