Spine expert told Marcus Mariota not to play against Colts

mariotaProfile123118NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Now Marcus Mariota rests and heals.

It’s a familiar process for a quarterback who Monday showed he’s just as frustrated with his most recent injury, and the ones before it, as the fans of the Titans are.

Robert Watkins, rated by many as the top-rated spine specialist in the world, examined Mariota after he suffered his first stinger, Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. The quarterback went to Southern California for that visit. [Unlocked]

After the second stinger, against Washington on Dec. 22, new imaging was sent to Watkins. It’s unclear if those two sets of images were different.

But Watkins eventually advised the quarterback and the team that Mariota shouldn’t play the season finale against the Colts because he’d be at risk of further damage that could have long-range consequences.

“I wasn’t able to get to a point where I was ready to go,” Mariota said. “It sucks, it hurts when you’re not able to be out there with your guys. It definitely takes a toll on you. I just want to be there for my guys and unfortunately, I wasn’t with them.”

Vrabel had Mariota’s back at his season wrap-up press conference.

“I have full confidence in Marcus when he’s healthy and available,” Vrabel said, before detailing the sort of position-specific training all players do to try to avoid injuries, suggesting Mariota will continue to do such preventative work.

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