Titans tight end Delanie Walker was placed on injured reserve in September after suffering a broken ankle and ligament damage in Tennessee’s first game, but the veteran pass-catcher still hopes to return from IR later this season, as he tells Erik Bacharach of the Tennessean.
“In the back of my mind, if I can get healthy earlier where I can come back and play, I’m going to do that,” Walker said. “But like I told you guys, I really don’t know. I don’t know what the time length is going to be. I feel good right now. Could I feel better when the time comes when we’re in the playoffs? Yeah. We’ll see. But right now, I’m just worried about taking it day by day just to get healthy and be able to come back next year. But if I can play this year, I will.”
Frankly, Walker doesn’t seem like a candidate to return from injured reserve, at least based on his other comments to Bacharach. Walker was using a scooter until last weekend, and is only now moving to crutch-based walking. Walker, who said he can’t flex his foot without his walking boot on, also admitted that he’ll essentially have to learn to walk again. Anyone who witnessed the video of Walker’s injury will remember the brutal nature of his break, so it seems unlikely he’ll be able to come back this season.
Walker has been incredibly productive since 2014, as he’s posted at least 60 receptions and 800 yards in every season since. Without him available, the Titans have received virtually nothing from their tight ends. Jonnu Smith has taken over as Tennessee’s starter and played on 81% of the club’s snaps, but he’s managed only 10 receptions on the year (although he has scored in each of the past two weeks).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.