Report: Titans' Derrick Henry Won't Face Snap Count vs. Bengals in Return from Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2022

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 24: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans against the Kansas City Chiefs at Nissan Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry reportedly won't be on a snap count when he returns from a foot injury for Saturday's divisional-round playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Henry will have "no limitations" in his first appearance since Week 8, but the Titans' coaching staff plans to "keep a close eye on him" to monitor his level of conditioning after the extended absence.

While the 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year has been given the green light to play, his recovery from the foot injury remains ongoing.

Henry confirmed earlier in the week he's still got a steel plate in his foot, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Saturday the punishing rusher is also expected to wear a metal plate in his shoe for further protection against the Bengals:

"The metal plate is a modified orthotic to protect the foot from stress and stop it from flexing. It takes pressure off the repaired area to keep it safe while he's running and cutting. He can run without any reservations.
"As for the plate, it's considered more secure and stable than simply inserting a screw into the repaired metatarsal. Henry actually has one plate and five screws in his foot."

Henry said after Wednesday's practice, which featured full pads and contact, he came through without any setbacks.

"I felt great," he told reporters. "I just wanted to get some pads on. Haven't had them on in a while and got some contact going."

The two-time rushing champion was off to another terrific start in 2021 before the injury. He rushed for 937 yards on 219 carries (4.3 YPC) with 10 touchdowns in eight appearances. His rushing yardage finished ninth in the league despite missing the final nine games.

Getting him back provides a major boost to the Tennessee offense, which is at its most dangerous when Henry is carrying the load and opening up the play-action passing game for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Henry should also benefit from making his comeback against a Cincinnati defense that ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed (148 per game) during the regular season.

The Titans were able to secure the top spot in the AFC with a 12-5 record despite being without one of their cornerstones, so his return combined with home-field advantage put the team in a promising position as it stands two wins away from a Super Bowl berth.

D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard are next up on Tennessee's running-back depth chart should Henry be limited at all during Saturday's game.