Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula and was carted off the field in Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was immediately ruled out for the rest of the game.
Mariota was tripped up from behind and sacked, and he stayed down on the field. An air cast was put on his ankle before he was carted off. After the game, head coach Mike Mularkey revealed Mariota's diagnosis.
On Monday, Mularkey told reporters Mariota will have surgery on Wednesday to have a plate inserted into his leg. Mularkey added it will take four to five months for Mariota to recover and that he hopes to have his quarterback available for OTAs.
The second overall pick in the 2015 draft is the future and present of the Titans franchise, so any injury is a reason for worry. Mariota also dealt with knee concerns during his rookie season and appeared in only 12 games.
Entering Sunday, Mariota had 3,327 yards and 25 touchdown passes with nine interceptions.
Mariota threw for 2,818 yards and 19 touchdowns and added 252 yards and two scores on the ground in his rookie campaign. The dual-threat quarterback has the ability to hurt opposing defenses with his arm and legs and will be missed if he is forced to sit out game action.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is likely Tennessee's best hope to become a contender in the AFC South in the coming years. The Titans were trying to crack the postseason for the first time with Mariota, but his injury plus the loss to the Jaguars put those hopes in major jeopardy.
The Titans will turn toward Matt Cassel, an experienced backup who has been in the league since 2005. Cassel has two seasons with more than 3,000 passing yards on his resume and appeared in nine contests for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2015 campaign.