It has been confirmed that Henry, who tore his right ACL on Tuesday, is slated to undergo season-ending surgery, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
Henry, who caught 45 passes (on 63 targets) for 579 yards and four TDs in 14 games last season, appeared poised for an uptick in production this year, with the team's intentions to move on from veteran tight end Antonio Gates, who logged 52 targets in 2017. In the wake of Henry's injury, however, it's conceivable that Gates could return to Los Angeles after all. Moreover, the likes of Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener and Marcedes Lewis, among others, are available in free agency. Offseason acquisition Virgil Green is on hand, but he profiles more as a blocker, thus it seems inevitable that the Chargers will add a tight end with pass-catching prowess to the mix, in short order.
Henry tore his ACL in OTAs on Tuesday and will miss the 2018 season, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Though Schefter noted Henry and the club will seek a second opinion Wednesday, Schefter's source says Henry will not suit up this coming season. After snagging 12 touchdown passes over his first two seasons, Henry was headed for an uptick in responsibility after Antonio Gates wasn't re-signed. Henry and Gates split snaps the last two years, and Henry was targeted 4.4 times per game in 2017, compared to 3.3 targets for Gates. The No. 35 pick from the 2016 draft projected to be a top TE in the fantasy realm due to his larger role, but now the Chargers will be stuck scrambling for a replacement. Schefter added that Los Angeles might consider re-signing Gates to help fill the void. Blocking specialist Virgil Green appears to be atop the depth chart at the moment.
The No. 35 pick from the 2016 draft, Henry was one of the most efficient tight ends in the league on a per-target basis while splitting snaps with Gates the past two seasons. The 23-year-old has parlayed 117 targets into 81 catches for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns in 29 career games, essentially posting a single-season Rob Gronkowski stat line over the course of two years. With Gates replaced by blocking specialist Virgil Green in the Chargers' tight end room, Henry figures to notice at least a slight uptick from last year's marks of 42.7 snaps and 4.5 targets per game. The 37-year-old Gates accounted for 31.3 snaps and 3.3 targets per game last season, despite looking like his age had finally caught up to him. Henry would push for high-end TE1 status if he were to maintain his impressive efficiency while taking on a sizable chunk of Gates' old workload. Henry is fully recovered from the kidney laceration that ended his 2017 campaign after Week 15.
Henry, who's bouncing back from a lacerated kidney, was seen running routes with the Chargers' first-team offense -- which is a unit that no longer features longtime tight end Antonio Gates, whose contract expired after the 2017 season. While there are still plenty of mouths to feed in the passing game -- namely receiver Keenan Allen, but also Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin and running back Melvin Gordon -- Henry is one of the best young talents at his position who's already proven his worth as a dangerous weapon downfield. As a second-year player in 2017, Henry earned 10.9 percent of quarterback Philip Rivers' targets. During Gates' early years from 2004 to 2008, the legendary tight end commanded 24.8 percent of the available targets. While Henry is unlikely to see that kind of usage given the receiving talent around him, he still has plenty of room to grow and is a great bet to make a significant statistical jump in 2018.
Henry was placed on injured reserve midway through December with a minor laceration of his kidney, which left him sidelined for the final two games of the regular season. However, it doesn't look like the injury will affect the tight end's status for any upcoming offseason work. Expect Henry, who posted 45 receptions for 579 yards and four touchdowns in 2017, to be fully healthy as the Chargers' No. 1 tight end at the start of the season.
|2016||San Diego Chargers||15||10||36||478||13.3||59||8||7||1||30|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||14||13||45||579||12.9||34||4||8||0||32|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||15||1||10||10.0||10||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||14||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||15||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||14||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2016||San Diego Chargers||15||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||Los Angeles Chargers||14||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|