Is Derrick Henry playing today? Titans running back taken off injured reserve list ahead of game vs. Texans
Titans star running back Derrick Henry hasn’t competed since Week 8 due to a foot injury he suffered during that week’s game vs. the Colts.
At the time, Henry led the NFL with 937 rushing yards and was considered a favorite for NFL MVP. He was on track to break four NFL records: all-time carries in a season, rushing yards in a season, touches in a season and yards from scrimmage. And, even though he hasn’t played a game since Oct. 31, Henry still ranks sixth in the league for rushing yards.
There was hope throughout the season that Henry could make a heroic return for the playoffs — if the Titans made it that far. Well, after clinching the AFC South, Tennessee holds the No. 1 seed in the AFC heading into Week 18. All the team needs to do to keep the No. 1 seed — earning the only bye in the AFC playoffs in the process — would be to beat the 4-12 Texans on Sunday. The Titans decided to designate Henry off of the injured reserve list leading up to their Week 18 matchup vs. the Texans.
But, will Henry make his return in their Sunday afternoon game vs. the Texans? Here’s what you need to know about Henry’s return timeline:
Is Derrick Henry playing today?
Henry will not play against the Texans, because the Titans did not activate him for the game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Henry participated in the Titans practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Because of that, Henry is able to join the active roster within 21 days.
Titans’ Derrick Henry got back after it today: pic.twitter.com/QdksArXemO
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) January 5, 2022
Can Derrick Henry play in the playoffs?
If Henry is activated by the Titans within 21 days from when he was taken off the injured reserve list, he will be able to compete in the playoffs. If the Titans beat the Texans on Sunday, they will capture the No. 1 AFC seed, giving them a wild-card bye round. This would give Henry an additional week to prepare for the playoffs: Tennessee would play for the first time on Jan. 22 or 23.
If the Titans cannot capture the No. 1 seed, it is unclear when Henry will be activated, although it is believed he will return for the playoffs no matter when the Titans’ first game is. Coach Mike Vrabel discussed Henry’s timeline with the media on Friday:
“We have some time to make that decision and we will evaluate where we are at,” Vrabel said (via ESPN). “But I think that he looked good. We continue to track his speed and his mileage and volume and see how he responds. I feel good about where he is at.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 8, 2022
Even though Henry had no issues practicing this week, the Titans most likely want to continue resting him so he’s prepared to play for the playoffs.