The Miami Dolphins are hurting heading into their Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. The team already ruled out quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who continues in the league’s concussion protocols following a head injury in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers. The issues do not end there as Miami prepares for their third game against their AFC East rivals this year.
On Thursday’s injury report, Miami listed six players as non-participants, including Tagovailoa. That is actually an improvement over Wednesday’s report, with linebacker Bradley Chubb improving from not practicing to a limited participant as he deals with ankle and hand injuries. Miami also saw linebacker Melvin Ingram return to practice after a veteran rest day on Wednesday. Joining Tagovailoa as a non-participant were tackle Terron Armstead, guard Liam Eichenberg, tackle Kendall Lamm, running back Raheem Mostert, and tackle Brandon Shell.
“I’m working,” Armstead, who has toe, pectoral, knee, and hip injuries, said on Wednesday about his availability for this weekend. “I’m working around the clock, man, to try to do everything I can. I’ve been dealing with quite a bit this season as you guys know. It’s been a battle. It’s been challenging, but I’m not wavering at all. I want nothing more than to be out there with my guys in Buffalo on Sunday. It is not anything I wouldn’t check off to do that, so if I’m able to be functional – for me, it’s not a pain thing. I can deal with any type of pain. It’s the function of the muscle and things around it. If it’ll hold up and I can go, I’m going.”
Eichenberg is dealing with a hand issue, Lamm has an ankle injury, Mostert has a broken thumb, and Shell has injuries to his knee and ankle.
Miami’s limited practice participants on Wednesday included Chubb, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, fullback Alec Ingold, linebacker Jaelan Phillips, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, Jr. Bridgewater, who dislocated a finger against the Bills in Week 17, served as the team’s backup quarterback last week and likely is in line to do the same this week, with the team expecting rookie Skylar Thompson to start on Sunday.
“I think when you look at it from philosophically for an offense, our job is to score points and however we score points is trying to obviously win the game,” offensive coordinator Frank Smith said on Thursday when asked about the philosophy of minimizing risk with a rookie quarterback like Thompson starting in the playoffs. “So for us last week, we felt there was an opportunity with the Jets to attack them in a way that maybe we hadn’t attacked certain opponents the same way. I think ultimately like this week, we have a plan for how we want to attack the Bills and ultimately, regardless how that plays out, that’s the plan that we communicate. The guys understand it, I don’t think necessarily that we’re looking at some type of way to really do it. We’re just looking at what’s the best way for us to make sure we score points and win the game and if we maximize those opportunities, we feel confident that we can accomplish that.”
Ingold has a thumb injury, Phillips is working on toe and wrist issues, Waddle has an ankle injury, and Wilson has issues with his groin and hip.
Miami listed cornerback Kader Kohou (thumb), tackle Greg Little (achilles), and Thompson (ankle) as full participants in both Wednesday and Thursday practices. Running back Jeff Wilson, Jr., was upgraded from a limited participant on Wednesday to full on Thursday as he deals with an illness.
The Bills’ injury report on Thursday included wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie downgraded from limited to did not practice due to a hamstring injury. Defensive tackle Jordan Poyer was unable to practice either day as he deals with a shoulder injury.
Safety Jordan Poyer was held out of Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, as well as being given a veterans rest day, then returned on a limited basis on Thursday. Quarterback Josh Allen (ankle and right elbow) and cornerback Cam Lewis (forearm) were both full participants. Guard Roger Saffold was removed from the injury report after a veteran rest day on Wednesday.