Jake Locker says 'injury-prone' label hurts most

What pains Jake Locker the most is missing football games because of injuries. He feels like he's letting his teammates and coaches down.

Something else that grinds on the Titans quarterback -- suggestions that he's injury-prone. The topic has been debated ever since he suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury on Nov. 10 against the Jaguars.

By the end of this season, however, Locker will have missed 14 of his potential 32 starts because of a variety of injuries ranging from shoulder, hip, knee and now his right foot.

"It does bother me," Locker said on Monday. "I feel like I have always done everything in the offseason, and put in the preparation to be as healthy and as strong as possible to prevent things from happening. And I've just had some freak deals that have unfortunately been major injuries for me.

"But I feel very confident, and I know I have done everything I could to give myself the best opportunity to go through a season being healthy. I don't look back and regret what I have done. It is frustrating when you put forth all that work and you try so hard and still end up getting hurt. It is tough that way. But it is something I've unfortunately had to deal with.''

Locker will have surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his right foot. Dr. Robert Anderson, team doctor for the Carolina Panthers, will perform the procedure in Charlotte, N.C.

Locker said he's not sure of the recovery time, but it could be five to six months before he's completely healed. Locker, who was hosting his inaugural Titans & T-Bones on Monday at The Rosewall in Nashville to benefit his Pass It On Foundation, is still on crutches and in a walking boot.

"My goal is to be back and competing in some of the offseason stuff, and feeling really good by the time camp comes around," Locker said. "In the meantime, I plan on being as involved as I'm able to be, and I plan on helping Ryan (Fitzpatrick) and those guys as much as I can because they were there to support me when I was playing. ... I will do everything I can to help them out and be a part of the football team. I just wish I could play."

All indications are the Titans plan on Locker being their starter in 2014. Coaches and management have stood behind the 2011 first-round pick, though two injury-shortened seasons undoubtedly have given them cause for concern.

Conversations about Locker's future will be saved for the offseason, coach Mike Munchak said last week.

Locker is scheduled to make $2.091 million in 2014, the final year of his contract. The team has an option for the fifth year but must make a decision by May 3.

Feedback from the team has been good and supportive, Locker said.

"They haven't said anything to me to make me feel any different than before, so I don't feel like I need to be worried about that," he said. "So I appreciate that, and I am thankful for their confidence in me, and I am going to do everything I can to get back as fast as possible. I want to build off what we did this year."

Locker got off to a hot start as the Titans charged to a 3-1 record. He finished the season 111-of-183 (60.7 percent) passing for 1,256 yards, eight touchdowns and an 86.7 rating. He threw four interceptions.

Locker missed five games last season with a shoulder injury. He was a spectator again Thursday as the Titans blew a 17-6 halftime lead against the Colts and lost 30-27 at LP Field. The Titans are now 4-6, including three losses behind Fitzpatrick.

"When I first got hurt, there was a little bit of sense of frustration, for me, being hurt and not wanting to have that be the reality of it again," Locker said. "I'd love to be out there. It is frustrating, but it is part of the game, and injuries are a part of it.

"I just have to understand there is a plan for me, and to stay positive, and to allow these situations to make you better as a player and a person."


TITANS (4-6) at RAIDERS (4-6)

* When: 3:05 p.m. Sunday


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