What Tennessee Titans want to see from Derrick Henry before an activation for playoffs

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Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the team will look at how star running back Derrick Henry responds to running and cutting and reactionary work on his surgically repaired foot before making a decision on his status for their playoff opener.

With the postseason beginning this week, the focus of Titans observers has shifted to the expected activation of Derrick Henry. His insertion into the lineup will provide a boost for a Tennessee team looking to make a Super Bowl run.

Henry, who missed the last nine games of the regular season, was designated to return to practice from injured reserve last Wednesday.

“I think for Derrick having not been out there, I think that there’s going to be some looks that he’s going to have to get in practice,” Vrabel said Monday. “We’re going to have to see how he responds to some cutting and some reactionary stuff. We’ll continue to look and see how he’s progressing and then we’ll make a decision.”

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The Titans bought the All-Pro running back an extra week of rest and practice by clinching the AFC’s No. 1 seed and first-round bye with Sunday’s 28-25 victory over the Texans. Tennessee won’t begin the playoffs until the divisional round, which is Jan. 22 and 23. The divisional-round schedule will be announced next weekend.

As he has in the past, Vrabel indicated that Henry’s ability to protect himself will be looked at before an activation, as is the case with all players returning from injury.

“We talk about the same thing all the time about players that are returning from injury or the ones that go back into the football game," Vrabel said "Can they make whatever they have worse? Can they protect themselves? And can they reasonably do their job?”

In eight regular-season games, Henry had 219 carries for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 1,091 total yards from scrimmage.

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Derrick Henry injury: Return of Tennessee Titans RB for playoffs hinges on these factors

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