NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Just in time for their push for the AFC South title, the Tennessee Titans will bring back defensive end Jevon Kearse this week, hoping he can play against the New England Patriots next Monday night.
Kearse, who made the Pro Bowl after each of his first three seasons, broke a bone in his left foot on the second play of the opener against Philadelphia and hasn't played since.
The Titans thought he had a chance to get into Sunday's game against Indianapolis, but chose to deactivate him.
Tennessee won the game 27-17, moving into a first-place tie with the Colts at 8-5. The Titans hold the tiebreaker, having swept the Colts.
Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that the team will release Kearse from work in the training room this week so he can resume meetings and practices.
''I think he's got a pretty good chance to do some things for us this week,'' Fisher said. ''We've just got to see how he does during the week. He's very, very close.
"It would be nice to have him back this week.''
Kearse still has pain in his left foot, which probably won't go away until the spring, Fisher said. If he does play against the Patriots, Fisher said he might shift him from left to right end so he can push off his right foot.
PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb had the cast removed from his broken ankle Monday, but the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback is still expected to be out for several more weeks.
McNabb broke the ankle Nov. 17 in the first quarter of a 38-14 victory over Arizona.
''His status is improving, but his foot is still in a non-weight bearing stage and he is still walking with crutches,'' the Eagles said in a statement.
Meanwhile, backup Koy Detmer, who dislocated his elbow the week after McNabb's injury, is making progress and might be ready to play this week, coach Andy Reid said.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning walked into the Indianapolis Colts' locker room Monday with a heavily wrapped right knee and a limp, but he wasn't concerned about missing any playing time.
Manning said he had an inflamed bursa sac, an injury that caused swelling in the knee after Sunday's 27-17 loss to Tennessee. But the two-time Pro Bowler said it wasn't enough to keep him out of Sunday's game at Cleveland.
''A lot of players have them,'' Manning said of the injury. ''It's an aggravating thing.''
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz didn't back down from Sunday's postgame comments, when he indicated that he couldn't count on some of his players.
Martz said Monday that too many players became demoralized by Dante Hall's two kick returns, plus a fumble return for touchdown in the first half of Sunday's 49-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He said past teams have been mentally tougher and more able to overcome mistakes.
''At the end of the game, I felt like defensively we had a tremendous letdown,'' Martz said. ''In some respects, it's hard when you've given up points like that, but you still need to battle. We're certainly going to address that with the team. I want to know who wants to compete.''
St. Louis (5-8) is out of playoff contention, and the immediate fallout from Sunday's debacle, the franchise's worst loss since 1963, concentrated on special teams coach Bobby April and kicker Jeff Wilkins.
Martz saved his harshest criticism for Wilkins, who's 14-for-20 and has tried kicking with his shoe off sometimes this year. Wilkins scuffed the ground on a 42-yard field goal attempt that never really took flight.
''I've lost a lot of confidence in Jeff,'' Martz said. ''He's had a lot of those 'I've kicked the ground' routines. Also, the Rams said that Marshall Faulk's playing time might be limited for the rest of the season because of a high right ankle sprain.
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