Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair will miss the final three games of the season and undergo surgery to strengthen the bruised sternum that has bothered him most of the...

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair will miss the final three games of the season and undergo surgery to strengthen the bruised sternum that has bothered him most of the season.

Coach Jeff Fisher said they reached the decision yesterday morning.

Fisher said a chief consideration is that McNair, the league’s co-most valuable player last season, will need the surgery even if he never plays football again in order to repair the damage caused by three injuries to his sternum.

“Basically, Steve does not have a solid bony surface throughout the length of his sternum,” Fisher said. “There’s an area in there that’s cartilage. It’s not normal. He was born that way. And because of this area that’s simply cartilage, when Steve suffered the first injury back in 2000, the sternum itself moved, creating a lot of pain and a lot of discomfort.”

McNair, 31, has missed five games and parts of two others this season for the struggling Titans (4-9).

McNair said he wants “to be able to come back and play with this team again.”

Elliss’ season ends

DENVER — Denver defensive lineman Luther Elliss will miss the rest of the season because of a herniated disk in his lower back. He has missed the Broncos’ last four games with an injured calf.

On Thursday, he sat out practice with major back spasms. Yesterday, the team announced Elliss was through for the year and placed him on injured reserve. The Broncos placed defensive back Willie Middlebrooks on injured reserve with a leg injury. The team did not announce their replacements on the roster.

Bulger unlikely to play against Arizona

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger still has soreness in his sprained right shoulder, making it unlikely that he will play tomorrow against the Arizona Cardinals.

Bulger threw three days this week but not yesterday, saying afterward he didn’t feel comfortable yet. The Rams (6-7) had been more optimistic earlier in the week, but Bulger is sore and has trouble following through on throws.

Backup Chris Chandler, a former Washington Husky, is expected to make his second straight start for the Rams, who are one game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West.

Chandler threw a career-high six passes that were intercepted in Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

“I don’t dwell on that and we don’t talk about it, really,” Rams coach Mike Martz said. “We’ve got to move on. We all go through that. Whether it’s a coach or a player, you experience that. He’s a vet, he knows how to respond, and he’ll come back and play well this week.”

Chandler will have a better supporting cast Sunday because running backs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson have recovered from sprained knees that kept them out of the Carolina game.


• Denver quarterback Jake Plummer was fined $5,000 by the league for making an obscene gesture during Sunday’s win over Miami.

Plummer and coach Mike Shanahan declined comment on the fine. Plummer apologized after the game, then during interviews Wednesday, admitted he wasn’t perfect and promised he would not make the same mistake again.

“I’m not a robot. I’m a man that has warm blood and sometimes it gets hot in there running through my veins,” Plummer said. “You know people do things that they regret.”

• Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield will miss his second straight game with an ankle sprain, sitting out tomorrow’s game against Detroit. Terrance Shaw will start in Winfield’s place.

• The Miami Dolphins will put their courtship of Louisiana State coach Nick Saban on hold to comply with the league’s hiring policy by interviewing a minority candidate, a team source told The Associated Press.

Such an interview could delay offering the job to Saban until next week, but he remains the front-runner to become the Dolphins’ coach, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There’s a lot of mutual interest,” the source said.