Titans star running back Derrick Henry on track to return by playoffs or sooner

It has been more than a month since Titans star running back Derrick Henry broke his foot, taking one of the NFL’s most dominant forces off the field. While Tennessee has held its own — going 2-2 before last week’s bye — Henry has gone to work.

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.

The 8-4 Titans, who play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, are in first place in the AFC South.

No firm timetable has been set with Henry and there is an appointment next week to provide more clarity. While no one wants any injury to any player, let alone a potential MVP candidate, there is a feeling that timing is fortuitous since it would allow Henry to return when it matters most after a full recovery.

From the initial injury to Super Wild Card Weekend is 11 weeks. If Henry returns the week prior for the final game of the regular season, that would be 10 weeks. This is an injury that has an estimated recovery time of six to 10 weeks. So potentially, he may be back sooner.

Henry could be at full strength, in shape and with fresh legs come playoffs.

On track for another stellar season, Henry has gained 937 yards in eight games, including the last one on a broken foot. He has scored 10 touchdowns and would have been considered an MVP candidate.

Since his absence, the run game has been up and down with Adrian Peterson (since signed and waived), Jeremy McNichols, D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard taking turns. Obviously, it’s not the same.

Henry wears a walking boot as a precaution when he’s away from the facility, but he’s been working with the Titans trainers on a daily basis. He’s remained in good spirits and part of the operation.

“I know that he’ll be around our team as soon as he can,” coach Mike Vrabel said at the time of the injury. “I know that it’s important to him. I know that’ll be important to our team. We’ll have to move on without him in the short term.”

In the long term, help appears on the way.

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