Knee injury keeps Mariota out of game between Titans/Falcons

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Titans rookie Marcus Mariota will not play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons as he recovers from a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Zach Mettenberger will start at quarterback.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Friday that Mariota has been ruled out after missing practice all week and the rookie’s knee has not quite healed up. Mettenberger practiced as the starter in Mariota’s absence.

“It’s a combination of missing practice and not quite being there (physically),” Whisenhunt said. “He’s close, but it’s a combination of those two things. We decided that was the best way to go this week.”

Mariota sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee when hit low by Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon in last week’s 38-10 loss to the Dolphins. Mariota stayed in the game wearing a brace, while the NFL has fined Vernon $17,363 for the hit in the knee area and another $20,000 for hitting the quarterback later in the head and neck area.The Atlanta/Tennessee game will be broadcast on KHON/Fox at 7 a.m. Sunday.

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