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Titans QB Hasselbeck to start vs Vikings

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jake Locker's left shoulder is sore enough that the Tennessee Titans don't even want him dressing Sunday when they visit Minnesota, so veteran Matt Hasselbeck will start at quarterback.

Whether Locker misses more than one game depends on how quickly his non-throwing shoulder heals.

"We'll take it day by day and see how he responds with soreness, getting the strength back and, like I said the last time, when he's ready to play, he'll be playing," coach Mike Munchak said Wednesday after announcing the change at starter. "Right now all we know is he won't play this weekend."

Locker dislocated his non-throwing shoulder for the second time in four games when sacked in last week's 38-14 loss at Houston. Munchak said Wednesday that Locker's shoulder has not improved over the past day and remains just as sore. But Munchak said they assume Locker will heal rather quickly and they'll put him back in the starting lineup when he is ready.

"We're always going to do what's best for the player, best for the quarterback," Munchak said. "He's going to be here a long time, so quarterbacking for a long, long time with this organization, so obviously we're going to do the right thing by him."

The Titans (1-3) host Pittsburgh on Oct. 11, so they face a quick turnaround.

Locker first hurt his shoulder early in the fourth quarter of the season opener against New England. He was hurt in the first quarter against Houston when Glover Quinn sacked him, with the shoulder popping out when the quarterback hit the turf. Locker said this injury feels different and he's not as comfortable as he was a month ago.

"It's just as fast as my body can respond to it," Locker said. "I'll do my best to get back there as soon as I can and as coach Munch (said), we'll just take it week to week."

The eighth pick overall in 2011, Locker was given the starting job in late August. He is 67 of 106 for 781 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and a 90.2 passer rating.

This is why the Titans kept Hasselbeck around after deciding to go with Locker. Hasselbeck has thrown for 236 yards with two TDs and two interceptions coming off the bench, but he helped Tennessee go 9-7 last season when he threw for 3,571 yards.

"It's going to be a tough environment to play in, as we all know," Munchak said of Minnesota. "But I'm glad we have a quarterback like we've been saying all along, like Matt, that we feel we can obviously win with and have won with. He knows how big this game is to win. We're lucky we have a quarterback that's very capable of doing that for us."

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