Givens claims in a $25 million lawsuit filed Tuesday that a doctor discovered a defect in his knee during a physical around the time his contract was being negotiated in March 2006. He claims the examining doctor told Titans officials he "may need surgery at some point" and "may not be able to make a full 16-game season," according to the suit. But Givens claims he was "kept in the dark about his condition" and urged to keep playing by team officials.
"The decision was made by the Titans management, coaching and medical staffs to risk serious injury and aggravation to a pre-existing condition without so much as consulting or discussing that situation with David Givens," the lawsuit said.
Givens hurt that knee during a Nov. 12, 2006 game against the Baltimore Ravens. An X-ray determined that the "previously known lesion and defect in his knee had crumbled," according to the lawsuit.
Givens, 29, hasn't played professionally again.
The coach did criticize a Nashville television station's report about the lawsuit that aired Tuesday with comments from an interview with Fisher during training camp. Fisher claimed that WTVF-TV made it appear he had commented recently and specifically on the lawsuit, a tactic he called "deceitful, unprofessional."
"The (Titans) organization is looking into the possibility that there may be a connection between the reporter and the attorney," Fisher said. "That's all I can say."
A message seeking comment from a news director at the station wasn't immediately returned.
Givens' attorney, Dan Warlick, said his client is disappointed that his injury could have been prevented.
"He tries to stay upbeat, but this guy ... was at the top of his game," Warlick said.
Givens caught 158 passes for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns in four years with the New England Patriots, with whom he won two Super Bowl rings. He left as the Patriots' career leader in playoff touchdown catches with seven.
Givens' injury occurred on the second play of the fourth quarter of a 27-26 loss to the Ravens. He stopped and planted his left leg to start blocking on a run play when he went down untouched. He had to be carted off the field.
Givens tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus and needed bone plugs inserted to repair a broken bone in the knee. He also needed another surgery in 2007 to clean up meniscus and shave down some of the bone.
Warlick said Givens has had at least two more surgeries and currently is undergoing rehabilitation.
"He continues to work to try to recover," Warlick said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press