The fourth-year running back broke out at the end of last year, but his latest injury could delay that increase in workload.
Henry has not yet practiced with the Titans during training camp — briefly appearing during a stretching period on Friday — but head coach Mike Vrabel gave reporters some clarity on Sunday. Officially diagnosed with a lower leg injury, Henry does not yet have a timetable to return.
While that non-answer might appear ominous, especially paired with the walking boot he’s been seen wearing, the Titans are not yet expecting him to miss regular season action.
Vrabel said on Friday that he considers Henry and rookie receiver A.J. Brown day-to-day, which likely keeps them out of Thursday’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. But there’s still plenty of time until Week 1.
“No one seems worried at all about the status of Derrick Henry despite the fact that he hasn’t been out there the last couple days,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on Sunday. “This (injury) is described to me as minor and should not be something that either, one, is long term at all or, two, something that keeps him out for a long time.”
Henry would be hard for the Titans to replace
Henry, 25, had career highs across the board last year with 1,059 yards on 215 carries with 12 touchdowns. Although he was a non-factor in the passing game, his 4.9 yards per carry ranked third among running backs with at least 200 attempts.
Henry’s final four games were even more impressive with 585 yards on 87 carries with seven touchdowns. That helped him earn the No. 99 spot on the NFL’s Top 100 list earlier in the week.
The Titans would not be well-positioned to replace Henry if he had to miss significant time. Dion Lewis was far more useful in the passing game with 3.3 yards per rush, and their other four backs — Alex Barnes, Dalyn Dawkins, David Fluellen and Jeremy McNichols — have a combined 12 career attempts.
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