While Titans fans were waking up to victory Monday, news about Derrick Henry suffering a possible season-ending injury dampens the mood.
Well, it’s possible the worst-case scenario might be coming true for the Tennessee Titans.
In the wake of knocking off the Indianapolis Colts in a thrilling overtime win on Sunday in Week 8, the main focus for fans was how the inter-division win would put yet another game between Tennessee and their division rivals, helping ensure no one else would have a realistic chance to win the AFC South.
On Monday, though, bad news broke.
Schefter also reported it seems to be a Jones fracture in Henry’s foot, which would require surgery and can take some months to fully recover.
In either case, it’s brutal news for head coach Matt Vrabel’s squad.
Through eight games this season, Henry has churned out a league-high 219 carries for a league-high 937 yards and a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns. Yes, leading the league in so many categories just reinforces how significant this injury could potentially be. While Tennessee made efforts to diversify the offense during the offseason, namely by adding wide receiver Julio Jones, one would be foolish to assume Henry is anything but the alpha on offense.
Titans to turn to Jeremy McNichols in wake of Derrick Henry injury
Assuming Tennessee doesn’t make a major move, which it probably will, Henry’s absence will likely be alleviated by journeyman rusher Jeremy McNichols, who has served as Henry’s backup the last two seasons.
So far in 2021, McNichols has served as more of a pass-catching tailback with 21 receptions for 203 yards and a touchdown. As far as the ground game goes, McNichols has only seven rushes for 38 yards on the season.
The year prior, McNichols’ most productive season as a pro, he rushed 47 times for 204 yards and a touchdown.
Dontrell Hilliard is also buried deep on the Titans’ running back depth chart.
Even if Tennessee makes a high-profile move to make up for the expected loss of Henry on the roster, making up for his production is going to be nearly impossible. If anything, more pressure will fall upon players like Jones, McNichols and quarterback Ryan Tannehill to close the gap.
That won’t be easy. And in the meantime, all fans can do is hope Henry fully heals and comes back at his usual better-than 100 percent.