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Sport Is Derrick Henry playing vs. Bengals? Latest updates on Titans RB's possible playoff return

17:17  19 january  2022
17:17  19 january  2022 Source:   sportingnews.com

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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.

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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?

As of Wednesday morning, the Titans have yet to announce whether Henry will be activated from IR to face the Bengals. However, he is going through padded practice with the team this week, and coach Mike Vrabel said that was an important milestone for him in his recovery.

"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."

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Vrabel also acknowledged that the Titans may not make an official decision on Henry's status until later in the week, after they see how he feels during practice.

"We’ll have a week to work, see how he feels and make a decision," Vrabel said.

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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. If Henry can't play, D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard would be asked to carry the load for the Titans, as they have for most of the latter half of the season.

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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:

Stat Total Rank (among RBs)
Carries 219 10th
Rushing yards 937 9th
Rush TDs 10 T-6th
Yards per carry 4.3 19th
Rushing yards per game 117.1 1st

And here is where he ranks among the NFL's top 10 rushers from the 2021 NFL season:

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Rank Player Team Rushing yards
1 Jonathan Taylor Colts 1,811
2 Nick Chubb Browns 1,259
3 Joe Mixon Bengals 1,205
4 Najee Harris Steelers 1,200
5 Dalvin Cook Vikings 1,159
6 Antonio Gibson Washington 1,037
7 Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys 1,002
8 Elijah Mitchell 49ers 963
9 Derrick Henry Titans 937
10 Damien Harris Patriots 929

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