All of the carries that Derrick Henry has shouldered since 2019 finally caught up with him. The Titans’ running back suffered a foot injury during Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season that knocked him out long-term.
Henry suffered the injury at some point during the first quarter against the Colts, though it’s unclear on which play it occurred. He was seen limping on the sideline with his shoe off but returned to the game. He played 74 percent of the Titans’ snaps — a number roughly on par with his season average — and not much was made of his departure from the game.
However, there was a high level of concern about Henry the following morning. He had an MRI and once the results of that came in, it was revealed that Tennessee would be without him for quite a while.
Henry led the NFL in rushes, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2019 and 2020. He was on pace to do it again in 2021 and had a chance to become the first player to post back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons. That is no longer possible.
That said, his season may not be over just yet.
Here’s everything to know about Henry’s injury and what it means for the Titans.
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How long is Derrick Henry out?
Initial reports indicated that Henry would miss the rest of the season for the Titans after having surgery to repair his broken foot. However, coach Mike Vrabel seemed to believe that Henry would stand a chance to return this year.
“We’re not going to put a timeline on when he may return,” Vrabel told reporters. “I know he’ll do everything that he can to work himself back — to be able to help this football team. Whenever that is, that’s when it’ll be.
“I know he’ll be around our team as soon as he can. I know that’s important to him. I know that’ll be important to our team. We’ll have to move on without him here in the short term and not look back.”
After that, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Henry’s recovery timeline will likely be 6-10 weeks. That meant he would have a chance to return for a potential playoff run by the Titans, as he would be able to return by Week 14 if he met the minimum end of that timeline and by Week 18 at the maximum end of it.
It seems like Henry is on pace to return at some point around Week 18, as Rapoport reported on Dec. 12.
Sources say that rehab for the All-Pro rushing champion is going so well that Henry is in line to return for the playoffs if Tennessee makes it in — or potentially Week 18 if the Titans face a win-and-in situation. The team was optimistic he would play again following surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal on Nov. 2, and reports on his progress have bolstered that good feeling.
Ahead of Week 18, Vrabel said that Henry’s three-week practice window could open “midweek” after he did some work at practice, per NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. That said, the team has “no plans” to play Henry in Week 18. He could be back for the Divisional Round of the playoffs if the Titans hold onto the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
As such, Henry’s status will need to be closely watched as the playoffs arrive. He’s not guaranteed to return, but it looks like he’ll have a chance to provide the Titans with a big boost if things break in his favor.
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What is Derrick Henry’s injury?
Henry suffered a broken foot in the Titans’ 34-31 victory over the Colts. He broke the fifth metatarsal in his foot. The injury is known as a Jones fracture and will sideline Henry for 6-10 weeks.
It’s unclear exactly when Henry got hurt. It was in the early stages of the Titans’ victory, as he left the field gingerly in the first quarter and was spotted limping on the Tennessee sideline with his cleat off. He would return to the game but only tallied 68 rushing yards on 28 carries.
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Derrick Henry injury timeline
— Oct. 31: Henry suffers an apparent foot injury against the Colts. He returns to the game but racks up 68 rushing yards on 28 carries for a season-low 2.4 yards per carry.
— Oct. 31: After the game, it is revealed that Henry will get an MRI to look at his foot injury on Monday. Not much is made of these reports.
— Nov. 1: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Henry’s season could be in jeopardy as a result of his foot injury.
Titans’ RB Derrick Henry suffered a potentially season-ending foot injury during Sunday’s 34-31 win over Indianapolis, sources reported ESPN. Henry is undergoing an MRI today to determine the full extent of the damage.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 1, 2021
— Nov. 1: Reports circulate that the Titans will work out veteran running back Adrian Peterson in absence of Henry. They have just one healthy running back, Jeremy McNichols, on their roster.
— Nov. 1: Mike Vrabel confirms that Henry will be sidelined by doesn’t give an update about his timetable report. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that will be roughly 6-10 weeks, so Henry will have a chance to return if he doesn’t suffer a setback or take longer than expected to heal.
— Nov. 1: Henry is placed on IR by the Titans. This is no surprise considering that he will miss six weeks of action, bare minimum. He is technically eligible to return after three games on IR.
— Nov. 2: The Titans officially sign Adrian Peterson and D’Onta Foreman to the practice squad.
— Dec. 12: Rapoport reports that Henry will have a chance to return if the Titans make the playoffs or face a win-and-in scenario in Week 18.
— Jan. 3: Mike Vrabel says that Henry’s practice window could open ahead of Week 18. He won’t play in that contest, as the Titans have the AFC South wrapped up, but he could return for the Divisional Round if the Titans earn the No. 1 seed. Once activated, Henry will have a maximum of three weeks to practice before he rejoins the 53-man roster. If he can’t return to form in three weeks, his season would be over.