Not surprisingly, running back DeMarco Murray will miss his second consecutive game with a knee injury as the Tennessee Titans prepare for the AFC Wild-Card Playoffs at Kansas City on Saturday.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey ruled Murray out for the second straight game, meaning that 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick
Henry will be the team’s featured running back for the second straight game. Henry managed 51 yards last week against Jacksonville on 28 carries, but did add a 66-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Marcus Mariota.
On Wednesday, Henry criticized his own play, saying he felt “soft,” in his first chance as a workhorse running back.
Mularkey was OK with Henry being critical of himself with the second-year pro intimating that he needs to run harder.
“I guarantee you his intent is going to happen. … He is a young player who has a full game experience (vs. Jacksonville), so to see a lot, it was good for him,” Mularkey said of Henry.
Murray suffered a sprained right knee against the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas Eve and has not practiced or played since. Mularkey did not rule Murray out of the game last week until Friday when he had to be listed with a designation.
Elsewhere on the injury front, starting left guard Quinton Spain was held out of Thursday’s practice with a lower back issue. Spain is listed as questionable for Saturday’s playoff game. If Spain cannot go, veteran Brian Schwenke would move into the starting lineup at left guard.
Cornerback Brice McCain, who has been battling a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Friday and was not given an injury designation.
Safety Da’Norris Searcy and tight end Luke Stocker were held out due to illness. It was Searcy’s second straight day to miss practice due to sickness, while Logan Ryan returned after being ill on Wednesday.
Tight end Jonnu Smith and cornerback Kalan Reed were cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol and are expected to play after practicing fully all week.