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Titans RB Derrick Henry could return to practice this week, be ready for playoffs

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The Tennessee Titans could be getting one of their biggest offensive weapons back on the field in time for the playoffs. 

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said on Monday that running back Derrick Henry is close to returning from injured reserve, and they'll discuss opening his three-week return window in just a couple of days. 

The Titans lost Henry to a foot injury midway through their Week 8 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Henry went in for foot surgery just a day after the game, which had a 6-8 week recovery timetable. It was possible for him to return in time for the playoffs, but no one was making any promises. 

First-round bye vital for Titans

Henry's injury was a pretty big blow to the Titans, but they've managed to do well since he went down. They've won five of their eight games, including a 34-3 smackdown of the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. That game didn't just eliminate the resurgent Dolphins from the playoffs, it helped put the Titans in charge of their own destiny: a win over the Houston Texans in Week 18 would give them the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which includes home field advantage and a first-round bye.

That first-round bye is hugely important for the Titans and for Henry. If they can sit out the first week of the playoffs, that gives Henry extra time to get himself to full strength before he's dropped directly into the intense and unforgiving fire of the NFL playoffs. If the Titans can keep on being the same team they've been all season, they should be able to make it past the Texans with the No. 1 seed in their possession. 

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