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Jake Locker on track to be Titans' starting QB vs. 49ers

Jake Locker is headed back to the Tennessee Titans' lineup -- far sooner than anyone could have predicted.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that, barring a late setback, the Titans expect Locker to start Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, according to a source with knowledge of the team's thinking.

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If Locker plays, it would represent a fast-tracked recovery for the quarterback, who was carted off the field with knee and hip injuries suffered in a win over the New York Jets three weeks ago.

Locker won't be 100 percent, though. The original plan was for Locker to return after the team's Week 8 bye, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Saturday. But the Titans felt good enough early in the week to accelerate Locker's recovery timeline, Breer added.

Locker took part in Titans practice Friday, but beat reporters observed the quarterback moving with a noticeable limp. Facing a talented defense and with a Week 8 bye on the horizon, Locker's return certainly is a surprise.

We wonder how much a two-game Titans losing streak has come into play here. It's also fair to wonder if the team is taking an unnecessary risk with one of its most important properties.

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