The Titans are coming off their bye week and are preparing to play for the first time during the 2022 NFL playoffs. They are facing just one big question before their Saturday afternoon matchup against the Bengals.
Will Derrick Henry be able to play?
The Titans’ star running back has been out since suffering a broken foot in Tennessee’s Week 8 win over the Colts. Initial reports indicated Henry might miss the rest of the season as a result of the injury, but it was later revealed that he would potentially be able to return to action in six to 10 weeks if all went well.
A 10-week timeline would have put Henry on track to play in the team’s regular-season finale against the Texans. That didn’t quite happen, but by virtue of the Titans’ first-round bye, he got an extra two weeks to rehab and prepare to return during the playoffs.
Is Henry ready to take the field for the Titans? Here’s everything to know about his status ahead of the Titans’ divisional-round matchup against the Bengals.
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Is Derrick Henry playing this week?
The Titans will decide Friday whether to activate Henry from IR to face the Bengals, coach Mike Vrabel said Thursday after the running back participated in practice again.
“Derrick is progressing well,” Vrabel told reporters. “We will see and make a determination on him tomorrow. Obviously, I think his workload probably increased throughout the week.”
Just as important to a potential return, Henry practiced in pads earlier this week and took hits from defenders for the first time since the injury.
“I think that’s a good step for him to have contact,” Vrabel said of Henry during a news conference on Tuesday. “It’s been a while since he’s had contact and had to do these things that come close to replicating what’s going to be asked of him in a football game.”
Henry acknowledged that he felt good at his media availability on Wednesday. He wouldn’t guarantee that he would be able to play, but it sounded like he was moving in the right direction.
“It all starts out here on the practice field and doing everything I can to get ready for Saturday,” Henry told reporters. “That’s where it starts. Just trying to work hard, trying to do the best that I can to be the best player I can be for this team. Trying to contribute as best as I can, but the work starts out here like it always does.”
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The Titans designated Henry to return from IR before their Week 18 game against the Texans. That opened his 21-day practice window to return from IR.
Henry must be officially activated to the Titans’ 53-man roster by the end of his 21-day practice window if he is to return during the 2022 NFL playoffs. As such, the Titans must believe that he is close to playing. Otherwise, they would have postponed that action.
It seems like Henry is truly questionable for this week, but we should know more about his status — and potential workload — as Saturday’s game draws nearer. That said, Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing spoke about “monitoring” Henry’s workload if he plays.
“If I’m given the green light with Derrick playing, then we’re just gonna have to monitor him in the game,” Downing told reporters.
So, even if Henry does play, still expect to see D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard in some capacity. If he doesn’t, those two will shoulder most of the workload for Tennessee.
What is Derrick Henry’s injury?
Henry suffered a broken foot during the Titans’ 34-31 victory over the Colts. It’s unclear at exactly which point in the game Henry got injured, but he broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. That type of injury is known as a Jones fracture, and it came with a reported six-to-10-week recovery timeline.
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Derrick Henry stats 2021
Before suffering the injury, Henry was, arguably, the best running back in the NFL. He led the league in carries (219), rushing yards (937) and rushing touchdowns (10) at the time of the injury.
Despite missing more than half of the season, Henry still finished with the ninth-most rushing yards in the NFL. He led the league in rushing yards per game with a mark of 117.1. The only other player with more than 100 rushing yards per game was Colts star Jonathan Taylor (106.5).
Below is a look at Henry’s stats for the 2021 season and where he ranked among other running backs:
And here is where he ranks among the NFL’s top 10 rushers from the 2021 NFL season:
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