By TERESA M. WALKER AP Pro Football Writer
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – NFL race leader Derrick Henry will undergo right foot surgery Tuesday morning, and coach Mike Vrabel said the Tennessee Titans have not set a timeline for his return.
Henry took tests Monday to verify the severity of the injury after winning a 34-31 overtime victory at Indianapolis.
Vrabel said he knew Henry would do whatever he could to come back and help the Titans (6-2). Vrabel said medics would set a timeline for Henry’s recovery and possible return, but he wouldn’t necessarily listen to that.
The Titans have nine games to play this season, including their December 2 break. The defending AFC South champions hold a three-game lead and the tiebreaker in their division.
âWhenever it does, it will be at that time,â Vrabel said. âI know he’ll be on our team as soon as he can. I know it’s important to him. I know this will be important for our team. We will have to move forward. We will unfortunately have to move on without him here in the short term and not look back. “
The two-time NFL champion made his way to the bench at the start of Sunday’s game. He was shown on TV without his shoe talking to coaches with 6:03 left in the first quarter before his return. Henry finished with 28 carries for 68 yards and an average of 2.4 yards which was his lowest this season. He played 54 of 73 offensive snaps.
The 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year did not speak to reporters after the game.
Vrabel said he was considering shutting down Henry on Sunday. But he checked with the medical staff and Henry. The coach says he’s giving Henry some leeway, believing the two-time Pro Bowl running back has earned the right to help make that decision.
âThere was no indication that he would make anything worse,â Vrabel said.
Henry leads the NFL with 937 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has a record 219 races, well ahead of next race leader Joe Mixon of Cincinnati (137). Henry was one of his career highs with 18 receptions for 154 yards, and he threw his first regular-season touchdown pass last week against the Chiefs.
He’s the main reason the Titans currently sit atop the AFC as the No.1 seed after securing four straight wins.
âIf anyone can, I guess, come back, it would be Derrick,â Vrabel said, âbut won’t put any expectations on any sort of schedule.â
The Titans have relied heavily on Henry since taking over as a running back, and he’s been carrying Tennessee this season. He’s hit 10 TDs in six games, and it took Ryan Tannehill three TD assists on Sunday against the Colts to reach 10 TD this season.
The Titans visit the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) on Sunday night, and now they must seek more help running back.
The depth chart behind Henry was already thin, with the Titans handing Darrynton Evans, their 2020 third-round pick, back to the injured reserve last Friday. That leaves only Jeremy McNichols and full-back Khari Blasingame with Mekhi Sargent and Dontrell Hillard on the practice squad.
The Titans finalized a deal on Monday to sign 2012 MVP and four-time All-Pro Adrian Peterson to the practice squad with the intention of promoting the 36-year-old runner to the active roster, according to a person with direct knowledge of. discussions. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Titans have not announced any deal with Peterson.
NFL.com first reported that the Titans signed Peterson.
âWe played against Adrian, and you obviously know he has a pretty solid and solid CV,â Vrabel said when asked if the Titans would work on Peterson.
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