So much for having a healthy offseason. After a year in which the Miami Dolphins saw several key pieces land on injured reserve, including free agent acquisitions Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson, the team looked to be putting all of that behind them. While Keller is still a free agent, Gibson had returned to Dolphins practice during the offseason workouts, albeit somewhat limited, and the team was looking like they would be ready for opening day in September.
Today, all that changed when reports of two big names for the club, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and newly signed free agent running back Knowshon Moreno, would be requiring surgery. According to multiple media reports, Pouncey underwent hip surgery today to repair a torn labrum. The injury occured sometime during the team's Organzied Team Activities earlier this month and Pouncey, who played last year through kidney stones, attempted to continue working out with the team during the rest of the offseason program. The surgery will force Pouncey to miss at least three months, though that is an agressive recovery. Pouncey could miss several early season games for the Dolphins, meaning the team will start the 2014 season with a completely new offensive line from last year.
Who replaces Pouncey at center will be a position battle to watch in training camp. Sam Brenner should be considered the early favorite, though Shelley Smith, Nate Garner, and Tyler Larsen could also see time at the spot with Pouncey out.
Moreno, meanwhile, has been a non-factor throughout the team's offseason program, with reports leaking late last week that the running back had a knee injury that was keeping him sidelined. This week, Moreno is expected to undergo an arthroscopic procedure that will require about four weeks of recovery. Moreno should be returning to the team shortly after training camp begins next month.
Lamar Miller, last year's number one running back, will likely continue to take the first team reps while Moreno recovers. How far ahead in the running back battle Miller pulls before Moreno gets into shape will be another item to watch in training camp, as well as how Moreno's injury impacts Daniel Thomas' role with the team. Thomas was the complementary back to Miller last year, and while he has disappointed in the past and was the presumed odd-man-out with the Moreno signing, he reportedly has impressed coaches with his conditioning this year, and could still be in play as a second- or third-string runner.
The good news for Miami, despite the injuries, is neither of them appears to be a season-ending situation. Already around the NFL, several players have been lost for the year. If Miami can get both Moreno and Pouncey back at 100-percent, they should be able to have an impact for the club this season.