DeMarco Murray will miss a third consecutive game with a right knee injury when the Titans visit the Patriots for an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
“I’m extremely disappointed for him,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “I love him as a player, as a person, what he does for this football team. It’s hard to watch when I know he wants to be in there with his teammates. It’s very hard.”
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Derrick Henry, who set a franchise single-game playoff record with 191 yards from scrimmage in the Titans’ 22-21 victory against the Chiefs, will start at running back for the third straight week. His 156 rushing yards were second only to fellow Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George in franchise playoff history.
Murray, 29, finished the regular season with a career-low 659 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 184 carries, plus 39 catches for 266 yards and a score. His 3.6 yards per carry matched the career low he set during his 2015 season in Philadelphia.
Murray started all 15 games, until missing the Titans’ regular-season finale against Jacksonville and the first-round playoff game at Kansas City.
Mularkey said Murray has a chance to return for the AFC championship game, should the Titans upset the Patriots.
“Not close enough to play this week,” Mularkey said, “but close enough to play next week.”
Murray was helped off the field by trainers late in the fourth quarter of the Titans’ 27-23 loss to the Rams on Dec. 24 at Nissan Stadium. Murray suffered a third-degree tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to ESPN. Mularkey has disputed that report, but provided no further clarity.
Even though he’s ruled out this week, Murray remained on the 53-man active roster, a signal that the Titans don’t expect him to require a full six weeks — typical recovery time for a torn MCL — to return to the field at some point this postseason.