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Perhaps no quarterback in the NFL has had to do more with less over the past month than Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The 33-year-old QB lost rushing champ Derrick Henry on Nov. 2 to a broken foot, and he’s had to throw to a depleted receiver group that’s lacked A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and Marcus Johnson for the better part of four weeks.

All three wideouts are arguably Tennessee’s three best big-play threats, and their absence has been felt. The Titans’ offense hasn’t been able to stretch the field much lately, and Tannehill hasn’t completed a pass of 25 yards or more in his past three games. His longest in the past month was a 46 yarder to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine against Houston on Nov. 21.

“If it takes you 12 plays to get down there, then it is a lot more plays and a lot more chances for the other side to make a play or for yourself to have a mistake,” Tannehill said of Tennessee’s inability to throw the deep ball. “That is kind of the game you play.”

Brown, Tennessee’s top receiver, was designated to return from injured reserve on Monday, but his status for Thursday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers is still uncertain. As is that of Julio Jones, who could miss Thursday’s tilt after suffering another hamstring injury in Sunday’s setback loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I am optimistic on all these guys,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “[Brown] has been working with the trainers and the strength staff. Looking at conditioning and updates in how he responds to the work he has done. He will be with us in the jog-through today and I am sure he will do some stuff a little bit faster.

“… We will see what [Jones] does in practice and see what he is able to do. Probably take it down to game time.”

Jones returned two weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars, recording four receptions for 33 yards but was targeted just once against the Steelers and limited to just 26 offensive snaps. He sat out the final quarter and a half.

Brown hasn’t played in more than a month after getting hurt against the Texans. He leads Tennessee in receptions (46), targets (78), yards (615) and touchdowns (3) despite missing the team’s last three games.

His presence could be the very thing to get Tannehill back on track. The Titans haven’t had a receiver with more than 33 yards in their last three games, and Tannehill has passed for just 437 yards over that span.

“You look at what he has done for us over the last few years and the confidence that we have together,” Tannehill said of Brown’s importance. “Just the plays he has made, some of them have been spectacular. To have that ability on the field and that confidence from the offense would be huge.”

Brown has led the Titans in receiving four times this year, and he’s been Tennessee’s best deep threat — leading the team in yards per route run (2.3) and average depth of target (12.0). 

The 24-year-old also has the most air yards (the total yards the QB threw the ball to the WR) of any Titans receiver this season with 867. Adding even the threat of a deep ball against a 49ers defense that ranks seventh against the pass would be huge for Tennessee’s chances of pulling out a win.

“We will see if he ends up going or not,” Tannehill said of Brown. “I hope he can, obviously for selfish reasons. I know he is battling back from a tough injury and doing everything he can to get back out on the field. Obviously, he is a big weapon for us and if we can get him back, we would love that.”

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_