Titans RB Derrick Henry to undergo foot surgery; no timeline on potential return

The Tennessee Titans' thrilling 34-31 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts came at a heavy cost.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel announced Monday that star running back Derrick Henry will undergo foot surgery. Vrabel did not offer a timeline for a potential return. Henry was placed on injured reserve.

"I know that Derrick is going to work extremely hard to get back and help this football team," Vrabel said.

Vrabel added: "There's absolutely there's a chance" Henry plays again this season.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier Monday that the Titans feared Henry suffered a broken bone in his foot that would sideline him indefinitely. Following surgery, Henry faces a potential recovery window of six to 10 weeks.

Rapoport later reported that Titans are signing veteran Adrian Peterson to their practice squad and will later elevate him to their active roster. Peterson, the only other active running back with a 2,000-yard season, started 10 games for the Lions last season and totaled 604 yards with seven touchdowns.

ESPN first reported the news of Henry's injury.

The 6-2 Titans enter Week 9 as the top seed in the AFC. However, Henry's injury puts a damper on the Nashville excitement.

Henry was seen early in Sunday's win limping on the sideline without his cleat on. But the bulldozing back didn't miss time. Henry played 50 of 68 snaps in Week 8 and took all of Tennessee's 28 handoffs in the game for 68 yards with a long run of nine.

The Colts did a good job of slowing Henry, not allowing the beastly back to gain traction or get a head of steam. Given the context of what Henry played through, the struggles are a bit more enlightening.

Henry's 68 rush yards were his second-fewest of the season (58 versus Arizona in Week 1) and the second-fewest rush yards in his career for a game with 25-plus carries. It marked the first time Henry recorded less than 100 rush yards in back-to-back weeks since weeks 5-9 in 2019.

With the win, Tennessee improved to 8-10 over the last three seasons when Henry rushes for fewer than 100 yards. That stat underscores Henry's importance to the Titans. The RB is the engine that makes the rest move. He alleviates pressure on receivers by pulling defenders into the box. He hammers at defensive linemen all game, tiring them as the clock ticks. He's a home-run hitter who can make 50-plus yard runs seems as simple as a plow moving through the season's first soft snow. And he churns the clock late in games when Tennessee leads.

The back-to-back NFL rushing leader was lapping the field through eight games this season. Henry has 219 carries for 937 yards and 10 TDs this season. Second places in each category: Joe Mixon, 137 carries; Jonathan Taylor, 649 yards; James Conner, 8 TDs.

Vrabel dismissed the idea that Henry's injury could be related to the workload he's carried. "Not sure why you would speculate," Vrabel told reporters.

The No. 2 running back in Tennessee, Jeremy McNichols, often deployed as a pass catcher, has taken just seven carries on the season for 38 yards. McNichols, who has been impressive at times in the screen game, should get the first crack at replacing Henry. Tennessee could also try to swing a trade before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline for additional aid.

Tennessee seems destined to make the postseason even without Henry -- it has a three-game lead in the AFC South and holds the tiebreaker over Indianapolis with a two-game sweep. Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown are potent enough by themselves to keep the Titans from crumbling. But their potential to drive deep into January takes a huge hit without Henry.

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