If Sunday’s AFC South-clinching win over the Miami Dolphins wasn’t enough, the Tennessee Titans could be close to getting their best player back into the fold.
Star running back Derrick Henry was back on the practice field last week and was said to be doing some light running as he inches closer to making a return from a broken foot, according to a report from ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
CBS sideline reporter Melanie Collins confirmed as much during the fourth quarter of Tennessee’s 34-3 win over the Dolphins Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
"I'm told [Henry] has been working out at the Titans facility," Collins said. "He was out on the practice field this week, doing some running with no limitations. He could return as early as next week, which would allow him to knock some rust off. But if the Titans can lock up a playoff spot here, it would give them some extra time.”
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel wouldn’t confirm Henry’s status after Tennessee clinched its second straight division title but did offer up what he would be looking for from his star running back before letting him back in the lineup.
“I think the plan is always going to be, ‘Where is he at?’” Vrabel said. “And each individual player, can they do their job effectively? Can they make it worse? And can they protect themselves out there? You guys — it's a violent game. We don’t want to put guys out there that can't go out there and protect themselves or they can make it worse.”
Henry was leading the NFL with 937 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns at the time of his injury. Although he hasn’t played since Oct. 31, Henry still ranks sixth in the league in rushing and he’s tied for fifth in rushing TDs. His 117.1 rush yards per game still lead the league.
In Henry’s absence, the Titans have rushed for 1,099 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games through the combination of running backs D’Onta Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard, Jeremy McNichols and Adrian Peterson, plus QB Ryan Tannehill.
“We’re starting to have a little bit of momentum and do some good things, obviously,” Tannehill said. “We’ll see where Derrick ends up and hopefully we can get him back, but getting [receiver] A.J. [Brown] back, we’re starting to build some momentum, play some consecutive games with good football, taking care of the ball and running the football. Playing our style of ball has been huge for us to kind of finish up these few weeks of the season.”
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