Marcus Mariota sought a second opinion on his neck injury last week. While Dr. Robert Watkins, a leading spine specialist based in Los Angeles, recommended the Titans quarterback sit out Sunday’s game, Watkins also told Mariota rest should solve his problem.
“There is no surgical procedure,” Mariota told reporters Monday. “Just with the nerves and some of the other things, it’s just going to take some time to get healthy.”
Mariota played only 27 snaps in Week 16 against Washington because of a stinger. He ended up missing or being knocked out of five games this season, including the Week 17 win-or-go-home finale against the Titans.
“It was a combination of several people, and when it came down to it, the decision was ultimately between the team and myself,” Mariota said. “For what it’s worth, I wasn’t able to get to a point where I was ready to go. It sucks, and it hurts, man. When you’re not able to be out there with your guys, it definitely takes a toll on you, but at the same time, man, I just want to be there for my guys and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.”
Titans backup Blaine Gabbert completed 18 of 29 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the 33-17 loss.
“Well, what it came down to is when you have an opportunity to play a game that you love and someone tells you you shouldn’t, that’s one of the hardest things I think any athlete has to go through,” Mariota said. “Unfortunately, I had to deal with that, and for what it’s worth, I’ll learn from it; I’ll grow from it and just this as part of my process and find ways to get healthy and get ready to go.”