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Justin Hunter being treated for lacerated spleen

HOUSTON -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Tennessee Titans' 45-21 loss to the Houston Texans:

Hunter injury: Justin Hunter suffered a lacerated spleen and will remain in a Houston hospital overnight.

The Titans receiver got leveled by safety Danieal Manning on the first pass of the game right as Johnathan Joseph intercepted it.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and quarterback Zach Mettenberger said Mettenberger read the coverage wrong to start the play.

“They rotated to single-high, and usually when they do that they rotate more to the center of the field,” Mettenberger said. “And I just kind of saw them rotating and assumed that’s what he did and didn’t check him. If I did my job right there, I would have seen that he hugged back on Justin’s side and would have gone front-side and hit [tight end Chase] Coffman over the middle.”

Hunter could have, and should have, gone after the ball more aggressively anyway. And if he had, he might not have suffered the injury he did.

He returned to action in short order after the shot left him with what the team deemed a stomach injury. Ultimately it got worse, and he went to the hospital.

“He came back in and played,” Whisenhunt said. “They thought he was OK, he came in and they checked him out. And then it got worse in the second half, and that’s why they are getting it checked out.”

Hopeful: Mettenberger was knocked out of the game by a J.J. Watt hit in the third quarter. After the game, Mettenberger said it was a Grade 1 AC sprain on which he would have an MRI on Monday.

Offensive line injuries: Whisenhunt said right guard Chance Warmack (ankle) also needs further evaluation.

The Titans were expecting Michael Oher, who didn’t practice during the week because of turf toe, to play.

But the right tackle reported to coaches that he felt something pop during warm-ups and was never on the sideline even though he was one of the team’s active 46 players.

The Titans started Will Svitek at left tackle for the injured Taylor Lewan (high ankle sprain) and Byron Stingily at right tackle for Oher. Eric Olsen was the lone healthy offensive line backup, and he was called into action in the third quarter when Warmack got rolled up on by linebacker John Simon.

“Those guys played their balls off,” Mettenberger said of the offensive line.

He took the blame for the one sack he suffered, a play that was initially ruled a throwaway but on which officials saw his knee was down upon replay review. The line allowed two more sacks after Jake Locker took over.

On the golf cart: Team president and COO Tommy Smith talked with general manager Ruston Webster outside the locker room after the game. Clearly unhappy, Smith gave me a good-natured hard time for snapping a picture, and I told him I would have been eavesdropping if I could have.

That picture and more from the postgame are on my Instagram account.