Titans RB Derrick Henry to have ankle surgery, no timeline for return

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The Tennessee Titans pulled out a last-second 34-31 overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, but they lost their most potent offensive weapon in the process. 

After reports on Monday morning that star running back Derrick Henry may have suffered a season-ending foot injury during Sunday's game, head coach Mike Vrabel came out and confirmed essentially the worst-case scenario: Henry will have surgery on his foot. 

Notably, Vrabel didn't say the surgery was season-ending. He didn't give a timeline for Henry's return, but said it's possible that he could return later this season. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the typical timeline for this kind of surgery is 6-10 weeks. 

Vrabel didn't give much away when talking about how the Titans will move on without Henry, but he did imply that he'll be doing what many teams have done: rely on more than one running back to run the ball. 

Losing Henry is a major blow for Titans

Henry left the game during the Titans' second offensive drive. He gingerly walked off the field, then received medical attention on the sideline and was walking around without his right cleat for awhile. He came back in for the Titans' next offensive drive and ended up playing the rest of the game, but it was clear he wasn't right. With just 68 yards on 28 carries, it was his worst game of the season.

Regardless of whether Henry returns at the end of this season or in 2022, it's a major blow for the Titans. Henry leads the league in rushing yards (937), rushing yards per game (117.1), and rushing touchdowns (10). He's certainly not responsible for all of the Titans' offense, but he plays an outsized role. 

Henry is a dominant force. No matter how long he's out, the Titans will have to find a way to stitch things together because there's simply no replacing him. 

Adrian Peterson to step in?

There's no replacing Henry, but the Titans will definitely try. Adrian Peterson is reportedly flying to Tennessee to meet with the Titans on Monday, and is expected to work out for them this week.

Peterson is 36 and last played in 2020 for the Detroit Lions. He's one of the greatest running backs of all time and according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, "has stayed in excellent shape." While he's not as sharp as he was in his prime, he still rushed for 604 yards and scored seven touchdowns over 16 games with the Lions. 

He may still have enough left in the tank to help the Titans, and his veteran presence would likely be very helpful among the team's depth chart running backs, who could be pressed into service as the Titans figure out how to operate without Henry.

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