<
>

With possible suspension looming, injury may keep Broncos' Henry off the field

11/15/2007 - NFL Travis Henry Denver Broncos + more

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Travis Henry reluctantly slipped the
brace over his sore left knee before heading out to practice.


The Broncos running back can't stand the contraption.



Yet with a slightly torn posterior cruciate ligament, Henry
doesn't have much choice. He may have to wear the brace -- like it
or not -- if he wants to suit up Monday against his former team, the
Tennessee Titans.


"I'll wear a brace for practice," Henry said Thursday. "But I
ain't going to wear it in no game."


Henry had hoped his knee would be further along by now. He did
practice on a limited basis Thursday, running some drills with the
scout team and stepping in on offense for a few plays.


"I'm not going to say I'm 100 percent," he said after
practice. "We've got until Monday, so we'll see."


In the meantime, he has more pressing concerns. Henry is trying
to keep the league from suspending him over the results of a drug
test earlier this season. He'll present his case to the NFL in
Phoenix on Friday.


"It's been going on for so long," Henry said. "It's like
you're ready to know what's going to happen."


Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has already thrown his support
behind his tailback. He said Henry passed a lie detector test and a
recent hair sample taken from Henry came back negative for
marijuana.


"We'll let due process take care of itself," said Shanahan,
who doesn't expect the ruling to come down before Monday night's
game.


If the league rules against him, Henry faces a one-year
suspension. Henry was suspended for four games in September 2005
for violating the league's substance abuse policy while in
Tennessee.


All Henry would say on the day before his meeting with the
league was, "I have a good feeling what's going to happen."


Now if he only felt that certain about his health. He sat out
Denver's 27-11 win over Kansas City on Sunday with a swollen knee.
He's also battling sore ribs that forced him to miss a game earlier
this season against Green Bay.


But this is one game he doesn't want to miss. The Titans let him
go in the offseason in a cost-saving move. Henry signed a five-year
deal with Denver for $22.5 million, including $12 million in
guarantees, last March.


He has a good rapport with many of his former Tennessee
teammates.


"I know all of them guys over there," Henry said. "It would
be good if I could play against them."


Shanahan said he'd know more about Henry's status for the game
after a workout on Saturday.


Should Henry not be able to suit up, the Broncos have found a
reliable contingency plan in undrafted rookie Selvin Young, who
gained 109 yards and scored a touchdown against the Chiefs.


Young has rushed for 331 yards this season, which is third among
NFL rookies.


"He's a smart kid," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "I like
having him out there. He's got that extra gear and can make the
person miss."


Shanahan likes Young's elusiveness as well. Young is second in
the league in averaging 5.3 yards per rush.


"You can see the speed, quickness and explosion in practice,"
Shanahan said. "To see him actually do it against an excellent
defense gives him a lot of confidence."


Henry led the league in rushing after the first month of the
season, but injuries keep creeping up on him. He hasn't scored a
touchdown since Week 3.


He had 433 yards after the first four weeks, including three
100-yard games, but has rushed for just 147 yards since then.


"He's really played well when he's been healthy," Shanahan
said.


Cutler said that Henry's off-the-field issues haven't been a
distraction for the Broncos.


"I thought he has handled everything as a professional,"
Cutler said. "The team still supports him. The coaches support
him. I just hope everything turns out in his favor."