Injuries: Henry Out Two Months, Winston for the Year

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - The NFL retained last season's relaxed injured reserve rules for 2021, meaning that any player who is placed on injured reserve after the final roster cutdown day is eligible to return to practice after missing three weeks. As a result, we will continue to distinguish between players who will be placed on injured reserve (IR) and players who will likely miss the entire remainder of the season (Season).

Titans Halfback Derrick Henry—Foot (IR)

The shock injury headline of Monday morning concerned Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, the NFL's leading rusher over the past two-and-a-half seasons. Henry injured his foot against the Colts, but he was able to return to the game. However, the team announced today that the injury will require surgical repair, which will keep Henry off the field for six to 10 weeks. Most accounts suggest that the injury is a Jones fracture, and a recovery time of eight to 10 weeks is consistent with the usual timetable for the minority (40%) of foot fractures that are not season-ending. Henry will be placed on injured reserve this week.

With Henry's backup, Darrynton Evans, also on injured reserve, Jeremy McNichols is next in line on the current roster. The team is also expected to sign future Hall-of-Fame veteran Adrian Peterson later today.

Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston—Knee (Season)

Jameis Winston tore his ACL and MCL against the Buccaneers, ending his season. The winner of a highly publicized offseason quarterback competition to succeed Drew Brees, Winston threw 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions this season en route to a 3.1% passing DVOA, roughly that of an average starter. However, he will miss the rest of the season, and he may face an uphill battle to be healthy in time for opening day 2022. Taysom Hill would normally be the next in line, but Hill is also hurt—concussed on a target from Winston in Week 5. That makes Trevor Siemian the most likely starter against the Falcons in Week 9, with Hill taking over starting duties when healthy.

Packers Tight End Robert Tonyan—Knee (Season)

It's old news by now, but starting Packers tight end Robert Tonyan tore his ACL on Thursday night and will miss the rest of the season. The team has placed him on injured reserve.

Vikings Edge Rusher Danielle Hunter—Pectoral (Season)

Danielle Hunter tore his pectoral against the Cowboys and will miss the rest of the season. Hunter had returned from missing the entire 2020 season to lead the team in sacks, and he was on pace to record his fourth season of double-digit sacks since 2017. Hunter will have surgery, and even this late in the year he should be healthy in time to participate in the team's offseason program.

Colts Defensive Tackle Tyquan Lewis—Knee (Season)

On perhaps the least fortunate play of the entire season, Tyquan Lewis recorded the first interception of his professional career against Tennessee, then fumbled the ball back to the Titans while sustaining a season-ending injury to his patellar tendon. He has already been placed on injured reserve, with surgery likely to follow. He will miss the rest of the season and faces a real struggle to be healthy in time for the 2022 season. Patellar tendon injuries are notoriously difficult to rehabilitate, widely considered even worse than the dreaded ACL tear. Lewis also recorded 2.5 sacks this season as an occasional starter on the interior defensive line.

Safety Khari Willis injured his calf. Only around 40% of calf injuries to defensive backs cause missed games, and less than 15% cause an absence of more than two games.

Football Team Center Chase Roullier—Leg (IR)

Football Team center Chase Roullier fractured his fibula against the Broncos and will miss significant time, with scans scheduled to check for additional damage. If surgery is required, it is possible that Roullier could miss the rest of the season. Only around 10% of offensive linemen in our database who miss time with lower-leg fractures have been able to return during the same season, and every one of those missed at least six weeks. At the very least, Roullier is out until mid-December, and likely beyond.

Guard Ereck Flowers also suffered a leg injury, but the exact injury has not yet been specified. He appears likely to miss time.

Browns Offensive Tackle Jack Conklin—Elbow (IR)

Jack Conklin suffered a dislocated elbow that will keep him out for "multiple weeks," according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. It is possible that Conklin could require surgery, but Stefanski did note that he expects to return later this season. Still, the team will probably place him on injured reserve this week, and Blake Hance will ascend to the starting role during his absence.

Safety John Johnson left the game with a stinger, which is unlikely to result in a lengthy absence.


The following players left their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:

  • Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel
  • Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton
  • Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold
  • Steelers kicker Chris Boswell

Based on our current data, a growing majority of players now miss at least one game following a diagnosed concussion, but around 80% return within two weeks.

Other Injuries

Bears safety Eddie Jackson injured his hamstring against the 49ers. Around two-in-three hamstring injuries to defensive backs cause at least one missed game, but only one-in-five causes an absence of more than three games. Halfback Damien Williams left the game with an ankle injury, but no further news is yet public.

Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski left Sunday's game after six snaps due to back spasms, but head coach Bruce Arians expects him to be healthy following the bye week.

Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins aggravated his hamstring injury, but the team again hopes to have him available with extended rest. Quarterback Kyler Murray sprained his ankle against the Packers, but the team hopes that the extended rest following Thursday night football will enable him to avoid any missed games.

Chargers cornerback Michael Davis injured his hamstring against the Patriots. As with Eddie Jackson, Davis is likely to miss between one and three weeks with the injury. Halfback Justin Jackson injured his quad, but most quad injuries to halfbacks do not cause missed time and less than 25% cause a multiple-game absence.

Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith will have scans today on the ankle injury that forced him out of the game against Minnesota, but most reports suggest that the injury is a low-ankle sprain with a recovery time of one to three weeks. Scan results and practice participation reports will tell us more about his status for Week 9. Cornerback Trevon Diggs also hurt his ankle, but reports today suggest that Diggs will be fine. Fourth-round rookie Jabril Cox, a core special teams player and backup linebacker, tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor hurt his ankle, but the team hopes to have him available for week 9. The same is true of right guard Jack Driscoll, who injured his hand and left the game against Detroit.

Jaguars halfback James Robinson hurt his foot against the Seahawks and left the game, but scans revealed no serious injury and Robinson is considered day-to-day.

Jets tackle George Fant and receiver Denzel Mims were hurt against the Bengals, but head coach Robert Saleh stated today that all of their injured active players apart from quarterback Zach Wilson have a chance to play on Thursday night against the Colts.

Rams receiver and returner Tutu Atwell hurt his shoulder against the Texans, but no further details are yet public.


25 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2021, 6:09pm

2 This changes things.

The Titans were fringe contenders with Henry.  Without him, they probably don't have enough offense to scare the good teams.

I guess we'll see how they react against the Rams on Sunday.

As far as Kyler Murray is concerned, he wasn't running that much this year, so I don't see his mobility being a huge concern.  My main concern is that AJ Green know the play call sheet going forward.

15 I heard that..

Kyler Murray called a check at the line and Green didn't hear it because Packers fan were so loud.

I don't think this a great excuse, but it's pretty impressive that a teams' fans can cause auditory issues at an away game.

3 Jordan Howard

Derrick Henry lite could be had from the selling Eagles I bet.

How much is Evan Engram and Hayden Hurst going for? GB needs another TE.

4 In their quest to have the…

In their quest to have the entire team be injured,  Ravens' linebacker Malik Harrison was shot in the calf on Sunday night. 

5 If it were up to me I'd sign…

If it were up to me I'd sign a FB and make Blasingame the main back. He's not useless with the ball and can catch and block. I'm not too keen on signing AP but I'm hoping he can bring something, if he can do anything this is the environment to do it.

6 Derrick Henry

The Curse of 360 strikes again! There will probably be more running backs lost with the 17 game schedule in effect.


13 Curse of 370, no?

In reply to by Sarpanitum

Did the curse go on a diet?  I thought it was 370....

That's why I didn't pick Henry in my fantasy league, and I wonder what will happen to whoever had him juicing their weekly totals. Then again, I picked CMC #1 last year and he missed 13-14 games, and the niece who picked Saquon Barkley right after me beat me in the championship game, so anything is possible when your star RB goes down. At least in FFL.  In the real world, it's a little tougher, but Tenn has a solid division lead and good record.

I expect the Titans to limp to the playoffs, and the Colts to improbably just squeeze in as a WC somehow, and they will face each other in the first round, where Henry will triumphantly return and pull a Legarette Blount on Indy.  I love the Colts dearly, but I've seen this game before....

10 2016 model

The Ravens purchased all of the 2016 previously owned vehicles that don't fumble off of the lot.  The Ravens trio has 31 career fumbles, Peterson 48, Gore 46.  The check engine light is always on, just dump a quart of oil in each, and they all go for a few yards.  Relatively less mileage than Peterson and Gore as well.

18 the ravens trio

In reply to by jheidelberg

Those three RBs combine to roughly the  same number of career rushes as Frank Gore. None of them has half as many carries as AD.  

Bell is basically done (as is Gore).  Murray is plugging along at an unimpressive 3.6 YPC.  Freeman has an impressive 5.5 YPC, though that's based on only 20 carries that includes one 31 yard run.  

Peterson averaged 4.2 and 4.3 YPC for the WFT before getting stuck in Detroit last year, where he earned 3.9 YPC.  I'm assuming the Titans have better run blocking than the Lions do, but even with that in mind, I'd be very surprised to see Peterson approach Henry's production level.  He doesn't have the burst of speed he used to have, but he is still very strong.  And his fumbling issues were mostly early in his career.  

8 Henry Injury

Henry injured his foot against the Colts, but he was able to return to the game.

Watching the game live, it was pretty clear that Henry shouldn't have been cleared to return. He was limping out of the huddle for the rest of the game and had no ability to cut. The Titans probably got some value out of the Colts playing defense like Henry was 100% for a little while longer, but I doubt it was worth it from a wins perspective and it certainly wasn't worth it from a player health perspective.  Henry may well have turned a hairline fracture that needed three or four week in a cast to heal into a full fracture and damage to surrounding tissue requiring the rest of the season to heal.

12 So the Steelers' plan of…

So the Steelers' plan of action for when Boswell goes down is... not kick anything.

Oh wait, when we score we need to kick off.

Is that normal across the league? 

14 Usually the punter is the…

Usually the punter is the backup kicker, from what I've seen. You occasionally get another position player that kicked in HS as the "emergency" option, and the ESPN crew prattles on about it for 30 minutes on MNF...

25 I've always wondered why, if…

I've always wondered why, if you were a fringe special team guy, you wouldn't spend an offseason learning how to do kickoffs. It seems like it would be easy enough to learn and it would make you more valuable. 

20 Old cliche to follow

And to add insult to injury, Tyquan Lewis is in a contract year.  The NFL is brutal, man.

21 Here I go again

The Derrick Henry injury is the most overrated injury in football in decades.  Tennessee this year is a mediocre team by DVOA with mediocre offense, defense and special teams.

The RB position is virtually useless.  Most teams are telling you as much by splitting carries between two and even three RB's.  Imagine trying this with a QB, or left tackle or cover cornerback.

The narrative will be made to fit the results, if Tennessee gets smoked by LAR this week, we will hear about how much they miss Henry.  They had Henry in week 1 when they got smoked by AZ.  If Tennessee wins the game we will hear about how Tannehill, the defense, the special teams, whoever stepped up to win the game.  The same goes for the entire rest of the season.

As always I challenge anyone not a fan of NE to name the NE running backs in each of their Super Bowl appearances.  Try a stab at the Denver RB's in the Elway era.

As for the present:

Baltimore, the most run heavy team in football lost their top 3 RB's and has a better DVOA on offense than last year.  This despite losing Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown and others.  These RB's are nothing but they do not lose games by fumbling.

Zeke Elliott and Dallas were awful last year, enter Zak Prescott and a team that plays defense and we have a whole new story this year.

McCaffrey, injured two years in a row, Carolina muddles along with or without him. Last year was a combo of a mediocre QB with a below average defense, this year it is with a bad QB and a good defense.  Sam Darnold will not play like a Pro Bowl QB when McCaffrey returns.

GB fans, pick your favorite Aaron, Rodgers or Jones?  FO writers, feel free to kiss some ass and choose Aaron Schatz.

Getting back to Henry, the Titans will make up for his production by running with a replacement RB and throwing more passes.  Their fate is in the hands of Ryan Tannehill and the defense, just as it has been for the past few years.


23 Just a guess, but I think…

In reply to by jheidelberg

Just a guess, but I think most football fans who remember Elway's Broncos can recall the name of the running back who rushed for 2,000 yards and won MVP. And didn't Sammy Winder hold the RB job down through the 80s run? Even if he wasn't anything special, it's not like they were just rotating through guys.

Anyway, sure, I also think Tennessee will be fine without Henry because I agree that they overuse him at the expense of their passing game, which has generally been very good the last 2-3 seasons. (Not so good so far this year, but injuries have probably held them back.) There's a small chance we could be proven wrong because maybe defenses also over-correct to defend Henry more than any other RB, so maybe they'll quickly adapt to a more pass-happy Tennessee offense and they'll end up in the same place or worse. I wouldn't bet on that outcome, but it's possible.

But I'm a little tired of the state of the discourse that as a corrective to easily-ignored mainstream stories, we have to call the RB position useless (which is not the correct point anyway) and pretend Terrell Davis never existed.

22 Pats' RBs

This Pat fan had to look it up.
In 21 full seasons under BB only 5 players have reached 1,000 yards, with Damien Harris on track this year for ~1,100 if his pace continues.  During those years 7 team leaders averaged <4.0 YPC and none have averaged over 5, unless the 2-3 listed at 5.0 are fractionally higher.  Cory Dillon's 1,643 in 2004 is nearly 400 yards ahead of the field, really the only stud RB season since the days of Curtis Martin.