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Titans’ Conklin ready to play his first game this season

September 28, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin is set to play for the first time since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in January during a playoff loss to the New England Patriots.

Conklin practiced fully this week as the Titans (2-1) prepare to host the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles Kelly (2-1) on Sunday.

“I’m really pumped,” said Conklin, an All Pro as a rookie in 2016. “It’s hard to sit there and see your teammates out there and not be able to help. I’m excited to be back and help this team make a difference.”

Conklin said the way the Titans tested him in practices since activating him off the physically unable to perform list at the end of the preseason has convinced him he is completely healthy and ready to test his knee. He has lost about 10 pounds and said he feels stronger and faster than before the injury.

“They sent everything at me,” Conklin said. “They weren’t going to put me out there unless I was ready to roll. I feel confident.”

Conklin’s return is crucial because his top backup Dennis Kelly remains out with a mysterious illness that has kept him sidelined since the season opener. Kelly even was hospitalized for a few days around the Titans’ 20-17 win over Houston on Sept. 16. He spoke to reporters Friday for the first time since getting sick and said he is awaiting more test results for a diagnosis and treatment.

“Literally we don’t know anything,” Kelly said. “That’s kind of the mystery is what exactly happened. I just kind of have to wait it out and see what the people who have seen it, see what they think.”

Kelly lost weight when the illness first hit and is working to gain those pounds back.

“The last couple days I’ve started to really feel much better,” Kelly said. “Without knowing what it is, we’re trying to make sure we’re being careful with everything. We want to maintain where I’m at and not push too hard and have a setback.”

Cornerback Adoree Jackson has been cleared from concussion protocol and will play Sunday. Running back David Fluellen remains out this week with a groin injury. Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will see an independent physician to determine if he can be cleared from concussion protocol.

Notes: The Titans filled the open roster spot created with receiver Rishard Matthews’ release by promoting DL Darius Kilgo from the practice squad. ... DE Jurrell Casey was excused from practice to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

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