De’Angelo Henderson isn’t used to sitting on the sidelines.
But it’s a real possibility that’s exactly what he’ll be doing come Saturday.
The Coastal Carolina senior running back suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of last week’s 17-7 win over Gardner-Webb, and Chanticleers head coach Joe Moglia said at practice Tuesday that Henderson is likely going to be ruled out for Saturday’s homecoming game against Central Connecticut State.
“Yeah, I expect him to be out this week,” Moglia said. “It’s not 100 percent, but I’m expecting him to be out.”
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Henderson was present at practice Tuesday, but was not suited up. He said there’s a possibility he’ll be back on the practice field Thursday and is holding out hope that he will play Saturday.
“It’s all on them and if they allow me to [play], I’m going to go,” Henderson said. “If they hold me out, I guess I’ll have to be on the sidelines.”
Henderson said the doctors determined he suffered an AC Joint sprain in his shoulder, and that it was good news compared to what was expected early on.
“It wasn’t as bad as they anticipated and thought at first,” he said. “I’m really day-by-day with everything, and doing treatment twice a day and going forward from there.”
Henderson’s teammates were concerned when they saw him grimacing on the sidelines but believe he’ll come back strong.
“My reaction initially was I thought it was my guy [I was blocking] that hit his shoulder. I asked him, he hurt it the play before,” Chants offensive lineman Voghens Larrieux said. “Obviously when you see one of your teammates go down like that, it’s never easy. That’s my friend. But ‘Hop’ is a tough guy and he’ll be back.”
Henderson scored last week to extend his NCAA Division I record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown to 32. Henderson has a shot to tie the all-time NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown (38) set by Danny Woodhead (Chadron State), but only if he plays this week and scores.
“I think the streak is a very, very big deal, but if [Henderson is unable to break] the streak due to an injury, so be it. There’s not a whole lot ‘Hop’ or any of us can do as far as that goes,” Moglia said. “It’s an incredible record; it’s his record. Not a lot of people hold NCAA Division I records, ever, at any point in their life. He has that and he’ll keep it for a while. So, that’s something to be proud of.”
Moglia knows without Henderson on the field it’s a significant hit to the team, but trusts in his “next man up” philosophy.
“Number one, he’s our captain. He’s our leader. He’s been a critical part of our team ever since he’s been here. He’s had outstanding years, he’s having another great season,” Moglia said. “He can catch the ball, he can run with the ball, he can block and there’s a bunch of different things he can do that makes him a great back. So, he hurt his shoulder and that’s a bit of a setback, but he’ll come back and in the meantime it’ll give the other guys an opportunity to be able to step up.”
Henderson – who has dreams and a shot of playing in the NFL one day – knows the stakes are now high with only six games left on the schedule.
“Every game is important. Every game could potentially be the last one I’m ever going to play. Everybody talks about the next level, but that’s not guaranteed,” he said. “So I’m enjoying everything right now, so if I miss [the game] I’ll be very upset. I’ll be very down in the dumps, I was already down in the dumps and I’m still down in the dumps. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for the team.”