The Miami Dolphins started their Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Rams with two of their five starting offensive linemen, left tackle Branden Albert and center Mike Pouncey, on the sidelines. Before the first half was over, that group increased to a third starter with guard/tackle Laremy Tunsil leaving the game with a shoulder injury. A unit that, when they finally got healthy five weeks ago, sparked the start of the team’s current win-streak, suddenly is a giant question mark.
Albert, however, is doing everything he can to get back from the wrist he dislocated against the San Diego Chargers in Week 10. Albert popped the wrist back into place, had trainers look at it, have a cast put onto it, and got back into that game, missing just 11 snaps. After the game, however, a specialist recommended surgery to repair some torn ligaments, so Albert immediately had the surgery in California in an effort to start the rehabilitation as early as possible.
Now, after one missed game, Albert is already talking about getting back on the field.
“I’m not ruling it out,” Albert said after the team’s Week 11 win when asked if he will be able to play this week. “It’s week-by-week, day-by-day. That’s all I’m concerned about.”
Albert is ready to start playing again, and wants to be back on the field. “Whenever I can start and I’ve got strength in my hand,” he said of when he will be able to return. “It could be this week, it could be next week. I’m trying to get back as fast as possible.”
The Dolphins could use some good offensive line news, where they are still waiting for word on the prognosis for Pouncey, who is again dealing with a hip injury, and Tunsil. As a rookie, Tunsil has been primarily playing left guard next to Albert, but was moved to tackle this week when the Pro Bowler was unavailable. When Tunsil was forced from the game, Sam Young replaced him, asking a player who primarily had played right tackle throughout his eight-year career, to take over blocking quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s blindside on a makeshift offensive line. After some early struggles, he eventually settled in and allowed Tannehill to direct two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to win the game.
“I’m proud of Sam Young; he got put in a tough position today,” Albert added when asked about the offensive line’s play on Sunday. “He stepped up big time.”
The Dolphins will see whether Albert and the rest of the offensive line starters are available throughout this week. The team plays the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.