ATLANTA -- Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck left Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Falcons with a sprained right elbow.
Rookie Jake Locker took over for Hasselbeck and nearly led an improbable comeback. The rookie threw for 140 yards after taking over late in the third quarter.
Hasselbeck's status for next week's game against Tampa Bay is uncertain. He had ice on his arm after the game and said he expected to have tests on the elbow on Monday.
The Titans trailed 23-3 when Locker, the No. 8 overall pick in this year's draft, entered the game. He played so well while throwing touchdown passes of 40 and 4 yards to Nate Washington that coach Mike Munchak made sure to note Hasselbeck is the starter if healthy.
"If Matt is fine, he's the quarterback," Munchak said. "There's no doubt about that."
Hasselbeck completed 13 of 25 passes for 124 yards with an interception before he was hurt when he was hit on his arm as he was trying to make a pass.
Locker took over for the next possession and on his third snap threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Washington.
The Falcons were driving for the clinching score when running back Michael Turner had the ball knocked loose at the Tennessee 8 by Colin McCarthy. Will Witherspoon fell on the ball, and Locker guided Tennessee on a 14-play, 84-yard drive capped by a 4-yard scoring pass to Washington with 3:06 remaining.
The rookie made a 22-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook on a fourth-and-17, and he scrambled for 11 yards on a third-and-10.
Hasselbeck said he was cheering from the sideline.
"It's fun to see," Hasselbeck said. "I think what we didn't expect was some of the heroics, like the fourth-and-17 ball or when he took off running the ball. That was great to see.
"I'm really happy for him. I know what it's like to throw your first touchdown pass and he was excited."
Locker appeared in only two games before Sunday, completing one of two passes. This was his first real chance to show why he was a high first-round pick from Washington.
"It was a lot of fun," Locker said. "I would have liked a better outcome, but it was fun to be out there competing."
Locker said "it won't be a distraction to either of us" if there are more questions about who should start at quarterback for the Titans (5-5).
"Matt and I are good friends," Locker said. "We're close to each other, we want each other to have success."
Munchak said he wouldn't make a change at quarterback based on "a couple quarters of football."
"Just a couple weeks ago we were talking about how well Matt was playing," Munchak said. "He was the reason we had five wins."
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.