Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, provides details on the loss of one of the team’s star players.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tight end Delanie Walker was placed on Injured Reserve Monday by the Tennessee Titans after suffering a gruesome leg injury in the team’s 27-20 season-opening loss to the Dolphins in Miami. Tennessee signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off of the Houston Texans practice squad in a corresponding move.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Walker sustained a broken right ankle and ligament damage.
“(Delanie’s) probably be going into his surgery sometime here within the next few days,” coach Mike Vrabel said Monday in a press conference at St. Thomas Sports Park. “It’s disappointing because he puts a lot into it. He plays hard. He’s been a productive player for us. He’s someone that I was excited to coach and be with, but hopefully, we’ll see where he is after surgery and reevaluate his potential return.”
Walker, carted off the field late in second half, was one of three key Titans lost to injury Week 1 in Miami. Both quarterback Marcus Mariota (elbow) and left tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion) exited the seven-hour game; Mariota attempted to return only to throw back-to-back interceptions before being replaced by Blaine Gabbert. Lewan’s was placed in and remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
The 13-year pro had four catches for 52 yards on Sunday against the Dolphins before having his ankle rolled up. The onus now falls on sophomore tight end Jonnu Smith to help replace Walker’s production.
“I think what we’re going to do every week is try to figure out what gives us the best chance to win, personnel wise, who we have available, maybe who we’re playing obviously,” Vrabel said Monday when asked how the loss of Walker will affect the team’s offensive strategy. “We’ll be flexible enough to use any personnel that we think will help us win. I don’t think we can commit to anything right now.”
Named to his third straight Pro Bowl in 2017, Walker led the Titans with 74 catches for 807 yards and three touchdowns last season.