The Titans improved significantly during their bye week before the divisional round of the 2022 NFL playoffs. Derrick Henry will return to action for the first time since suffering a foot injury in Week 8 against the Colts.
Henry’s return became inevitable during the final month of the season, but at the time of his injury, his return was far from guaranteed. He was expected to miss at least 6-10 weeks as a result of his injury, but some reports indicated that he might not be able to return at all.
Now, Henry is ready to play and will return to action against the Bengals. He’ll have a chance to be a key player in the Titans’ rushing game during a season in which he posted the ninth-most rushing yards in the league despite missing more than half the season.
How did Derrick Henry come back from his foot injury? Here’s what you need to know about his recovery and how it will help the Titans create one of the strongest backfield rotations of any 2022 NFL playoff team.
What was Derrick Henry’s injury?
Henry suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot. A Jones fracture occurs when the bottom of the fifth metatarsal in the foot breaks. The metatarsals form the middle of the foot and connect to the toes. So, in other words, Henry broke the bottom of his midfoot that connects to his little toe.
The injury occurred during the Titans’ Week 8 win over the Colts, though it’s unclear on which play it occurred. Henry finished the game, but after tests revealed the break, it was assumed he would miss the season, as the most optimistic timeline pegged Henry’s potential return at between 6 and 10 weeks.
How did Derrick Henry recover from his injury?
Henry worked hard to recover from his injury and was almost able to meet the last end of the 6-10 week schedule. The Titans designated him to return from IR before Week 18, but did not activate him for that contest, which would have been the 10-week mark on his return.
Tennessee probably did this with the playoffs in mind, as it gave Henry a couple extra weeks to recover before his game as the No. 1 seed in the divisional round.
It’s also worth noting that the surgery Henry had to repair Jones’ fracture was a bit different than most surgeries of that nature. Dr. Geoff Watson of the Bone and Joint Institute explained to Sports A to Z Nashville that most fractures of this nature are repaired with only one screw. Henry’s was repaired with a screw and plate.
“He actually had a plate and screws to stabilize him, so they made a slightly larger incision,” Watson said. “Then they put a plate on the outside of the bone where the stress side is, and that helps keep the bone from plugging.”
How did that impact Henry? Well, it put the six-week mark on his rehab out of reach, but it helped further stabilize the injury and take the strain off the foot, as Watson described. The longest recovery timeline still had Henry on track for a playoff return, so it seems the Titans had an eye on making sure his foot was fully healed before activating him.
It’s also worth noting that Henry underwent surgery on Tuesday, November 2. That was just a day after the injury was revealed, so the Titans wasted no time treating him and giving him a chance to return.
As for Henry’s rehab, trainer Mike Vrabel said Henry was “working hard to do everything he can to recover” during a press conference at the end of November. That involved working with the Titans’ coaches “on a daily basis” to speed up his recovery, such as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in mid-December.
Henry wears a walking boot as a precaution when he’s off the premises, but he’s been working out with the Titans’ coaches every day. He has remained in a good mood and is part of the operation.
Suffice to say, the Titans’ plan and schedule worked for Henry. Now, they’ll have him back for the biggest game of the season against the Bengals.
Derrick Henry injury timeline
: Henry suffers an apparent foot injury against the Colts. He returns to the game, but has 68 rushing yards on 28 carries for a season-low 2.4 yards per carry.
: After the game, it is revealed that Henry will have an MRI to look at his foot injury on Monday. Not much is said about these reports.
: 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, ESPN sources reported. Henry will undergo an MRI today to determine the full extent of the damage.
—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 1, 2021
: Reports are circulating that the Titans will work with veteran running back Adrian Peterson in Henry’s absence. They only have one healthy running back, Jeremy McNichols, on their roster.
: Mike Vrabel confirms that Henry will be sidelined for not giving an update on his schedule report. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that it will be about 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.
– November 1st: Henry is put on IR by the Titans. This is not a surprise considering that he will miss six weeks of action, at least. He is technically eligible to return after three games on IR.
: The Titans officially sign Adrian Peterson and D’Onta Foreman to the practice squad.
: Rapoport reports that Henry will have a chance to return if the Titans make the playoffs or face a win-win scenario and enter Week 18.
: Mike Vrabel says Henry’s practice window could open before Week 18. He won’t play in that contest as the Titans have the AFC South closed, but he could return for the Divisional Round if the Titans win No. 1 seed. Once activated, Henry will have a maximum of three weeks to practice before rejoining the 53-player roster. If he can’t get back into shape in three weeks, his season is over.
: The Titans officially designate Henry to return from IR, giving him three weeks (21 days) to be activated on the 53-man roster. If the Titans get the No. 1 seed, Henry will presumably be able to play in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
:Henry begins to participate in padded practices with the Titans. Vrabel calls it a “nice step” in his recovery, but didn’t commit to his return to play against the Bengals.
Titans RB Depth Chart
Henry will now be the leading running back for the Titans once again. He’s supposed to be the workhorse, as long as Tennessee doesn’t try to relax. brought him back into action, with D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard backing him up.