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Porter's season (and possibly career) in jeopardy?

There's some disturbing news coming out of Dolphins camp.  Apparently, Joey Porter's recent back issues are severe enough that he could possibly miss the season - or even end his career.

On Monday, the Dolphins spent some practice time doing work for that opening game against the New York Jets. Porter was absent from practice. Again.

He was visiting a doctor -- again -- trying to get a fix on a mysterious back ailment that has him, and the team, fearing he's going to miss portions of this season, including the opener.

This is very bad news for Porter and the Dolphins.  There's no question Joey wants to be out there and wants to contribute - and earn his hefty contract.  But back issues are major problems for athletes.

So what have the Dolphins done while Porter is missing practice?  Charlie Anderson has been working at weak-side linebacker, with Phillip Merling getting some work as his backup and potential replacement sometime down the road.  But then you have to question if Merling is athletic enough to play standing up.  He's a big guy, after all, and seems to lack that elite burst that the good pass-rushing outside linebackers need.  Says Merling about the situation:

"I'm getting a reasonable amount [of work] with ends and linebackers. They said I might be going out there a little bit as a backup to learn the position. It's going pretty good. I'm learning from Joey and the coaches.''

So what do you think?  How big of a loss would it be for Porter to miss games - or even the entire season?  Can the Dolphins generate enough of a pass rush without him?

Hat tip to "Rzayo24" for posting about this in his FanPost.