Kicker tore hamstring in practice

Just days before their season opener, the Tennessee Titans are suddenly scrambling to replace star-crossed kicker Joe Nedney.

Nedney, a ninth-year veteran, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday afternoon -- which by definition means he cannot play in 2004 -- one day after suffering a freak injury to his left hamstring in practice. Nedney missed all but one game last season after tearing a ligament in his non-kicking (right) leg during the first game of the year.

It was not immediately known if the Titans will use punter Craig Hentrich on place kicks for Sunday's opener at Miami, or sign another kicker. Hentrich filled in during the 2003 opener against Oakland after Nedney tore the anterior cruciate ligament, and he converted all three field-goal attempts in that game, from 49, 34 and 33 yards.

No matter how they handle Sunday's game, the Titans almost certainly will have to sign another kicker to get them through the season. That could mean a call to NFL career points leader Gary Anderson, who is retired.

It was Anderson who answered the SOS last year following Nedney's injury.

The latest injury occurred as Nedney was kicking off during a special teams segment of practice. As he approached the ball, it began to blow off the tee and Nedney stretched out awkwardly, falling to the ground. One team source Wednesday morning said the injury "looked bad" and an MRI exam confirmed his suspicion later in the day.

The Titans' options for a veteran kicker, beyond Anderson, dwindled Tuesday when Minnesota signed Morten Andersen and the New York Giants added Steve Christie.

In addition to the knee injury of 2003, Nedney spent much of the 1998 season on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his right knee. He also suffered a hyperextended right knee in the 2002 AFC championship game.

For his career, Nedney has converted 127 of 190 field goal attempts and all but three of his 194 extra point tries. His best season came in 2002, with the Titans, when he scored 111 points. He has kicked for Miami (1996), Arizona (1997-98), Oakland (1999), Carolina (2000) and the Titans (2001-2003).

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.