The Titans got some bad injury news this week, putting Cameron Wake, Delanie Walker, and Chris Milton all on injured reserve, ending their 2019 seasons. However, the Colts got some bad news of their own. Earlier this week tight end Eric Ebron was moved to IR and now star receiver — and long time Titans nemesis — T.Y. Hilton has been ruled out for Sunday’s game after suffering a set back to the calf injury that he’s struggled with over the past month.
TY Hilton suffered a slight setback in practice yesterday, and is OUT for Sunday’s game vs Tennessee. He’ll remain week-to-week.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 28, 2019
Obviously, this is a pretty huge break for the Titans. Hilton has absolutely tortured this team recently, including a 9-catch, 155-yard, 2-touchdown showing in the matchup in Indy last year.
The Colts are famously 1-7 in games without Hilton since the start of his career. They’re also 1-6 without Marlon Mack over the past three years. They’ll be without both on Sunday... plus Ebron.
That being said, I certainly wouldn’t expect this Colts crew to roll over and quit at home in a divisional matchup that they absolutely have to have if they want to make the playoffs. They have a healthy, talented defense and that offensive line remains the foundation of the offense (though All-Everything guard Quenton Nelson also missed practice today with a hip injury). This Indy team is absolutely capable of beating the Titans even without some of their stars at the skill positions. They also might get rookie speedster Parris Campbell back for this game which would help replace some of the explosiveness that Hilton usually brings to the table.
The Titans injury report from today’s practice had only edge rusher Reggie Gilbert and cornerback LeShaun Sims listed as missing altogether, while Derrick Henry was limited again with a hamstring issue.
I’m not ready to ring alarm bells on Henry just yet. The fact that he’s practicing at all tells me that this is a relatively minor issue. Some of the practice clips that have circulated around show him moving around pretty easily with no noticeable limp or restraint. Obviously, you’d love to see him get a full practice in Friday, but it seems like this might just be precautionary as the Titans try to manage the workload on a guy who has gotten a lot of game reps lately.
Gilbert missing work, combined with Wake going to IR, means we are probably going to see a lot of Kamalei Correa and Sharif Finch on Sunday. There is also a pretty good chance that Derick Roberson is active and possibly called upon to play some snaps on defense if Gilbert can’t go at all. For what it’s worth, I’ve felt like Correa’s play has started to improve over the course of this season. He’s still no Wake replacement, but he isn’t a total non-threat like he was in 2018 either.
Sims was seen in a boot in the locker room on Wednesday which doesn’t necessarily mean anything — boots are often used to stabilize the ankle/foot and promote quick healing regardless of the severity of the injury — but two straight DNP’s means there is a pretty good chance that Tye Smith serves as the Titans CB3 on Sunday behind starters Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan with undrafted rookie Kareem Orr as the next man up behind Smith.
Smith is experienced and drew praise from Mike Vrabel this week for being a guy who has improved throughout the course of the season. Obviously, you’d prefer Sims in there, but I don’t think the drop off from Sims to Smith is huge.
Both teams are going to be missing some starters, but Hilton being ruled out is certainly a major blow to the Colts offense.