The New England Patriots surprised a lot of fans when they used a chunk of their free agent spending budget on tight end duo Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
While the Patriots also bolstered their lackluster receiving corps this offseason, the unit isn’t exactly what you would call a world-beater.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s probably on par with that of the New York Jets in terms of the worst WR corps in the division.
Taking that into account, the pressure will be on Henry and Smith, who signed for a combined $87.4 million this offseason, to carry the load as pass catchers.
With that onus as pertinent as ever, Patriots fans likely gasped when they read up on Thursday’s practice.
According to reports, Henry was forced from a 7-on-7 drill on Thursday after suffering an apparent lower leg injury. The 26-year-old star attempted to return after getting his ankle/foot area taped up, but ultimately ended up spectating from the sidelines.
How concerned should Patriots fans be about Hunter Henry’s injury?
Though we’re still awaiting an official diagnosis, the fact Henry didn’t leave the field for further testing suggests he avoided a major injury. Still, however, this is the opposite of ideal given all the injuries the former second-round pick has endured over his first five seasons.
The fact of the matter is that Henry has dealt with injuries in each of his first five seasons, including his rookie year, when he appeared in 15 games. In 2017, Henry was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury to finish the year. The following year, he suffered a torn ACL in the offseason and didn’t return until the playoffs, playing just 14 snaps in a loss to the Patriots.
In 2019, Henry’s knee issues resurfaced, as he suffered a tibia plateau fracture that shelved him for four weeks. Believe it or not, the Arkansas product got through the entire 2020 campaign without missing time due to injury. Like countless other players around the NFL, however, he missed two weeks after landing on the COVID-19 reserve list in late December.
Though this certainly isn’t a promising start to his Patriots tenure, fans will love hearing that Henry, though he didn’t take another offensive rep on Thursday, was able to tough it out and return for a field goal drill towards the tail end of practice.
Breath a sigh of relief, Patriots fans.
While the former Razorback can be considered a doubt for Friday’s session, the early signs suggest he’ll be fine after resting for a couple days. We’ll follow up with an update if it feels necessary, but right now it seems like Henry avoided something serious.