The Miami Dolphins are working their way through several key players having injuries that are causing them to miss snaps or even full games. The offensive line is playing at 40 percent starter strength while wide receiver DeVante Parker, who is in the middle of becoming a breakout receiver for the team, injured his back during the game on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. It has been a rough few weeks for the Dolphins, and they are hoping some of the players will be ready when this upcoming Sunday, and a trip to visit the Baltimore Ravens, rolls around.
As of late Monday and into Tuesday, however, the availability for most of the Dolphins injured players is still a giant, cloudy mess. Will they or won’t they? No one seems to know.
There have not been much in terms of definitive updates on the injuries, though there was some discussion by head coach Adam Gase on Monday. About center Mike Pouncey’s return from another hip injury, Gase explained, “I think we’re still … it’s such a week-to-week thing. I’m going to have to really look into it as far as what are our chances this week; but just in my mind, we’re probably not ready yet. We’re probably not ready.”
Parker injured his back during the 49ers game, leaping for a pass and appearing to come down somewhat awkwardly. He rolled out of bounds and stayed on the ground. After the game, he was in a back brace, but described the injury as “nothing.” He, and others around the Dolphins, have seemed optimistic that he could be available for Sunday, though the fact that he was in the back brace in the first place indicates there is at least some concern about the injury.
“We’re still kind of in the process right now as far as our evaluation,” Gase said of Parker. “I’ll know more when we hit Wednesday. It’s going to take the rest of today...I was very brief with the trainers today so I don’t have all the details yet.”
The team is believed to be more optimistic about the chances for left tackle Branden Albert and left guard Laremy Tunsil to return this week. Albert is working his way back from a dislocated wrist he suffered against the San Diego Chargers, an injury that ultimately required surgery to repair some damaged ligaments. Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley wrote on Monday that “odds are better than not” that Albert will be able to return.
Tunsil, meanwhile, was considered questionable last week, but ultimately was ruled inactive on Sunday morning. Gase explained that the team had a pretty good idea he was not going to play on Saturday night, but wanted to wait to make sure that was an accurate prediction. “The night before, we felt like we were probably going to be without him,” Gase stated. “I mean he could have walked in [Sunday morning] and been like, ‘I’m good. I can go.’” Hopefully, that means Tunsil will be ready for this Sunday.
The Dolphins really need to see some of, if not all of, the offensive linemen come back for this week’s game. The Ravens are leading their division and looking to keep that lead. They have the number one rush defense in the league, allowing just 74.9 yards per game on the ground - and Miami struggled on the ground last week against the worst rush defense in the league. Adding the starters back to the offensive line could help the team at least find some space on the ground against Baltimore.
Parker’s presence on the field is likewise an important piece for Miami’s offense. As he continues to break out as a receiving threat, it takes some of the pressure off Jarvis Landry and gives quarterback Ryan Tannehill another option on every snap. Tannehill has started just throwing the ball up in the air and letting Parker go make a play, and keeping that option available will give Miami a dynamic their offense has been lacking in recent years.
Tuesday afternoon is way too early to have any definitive answer on whether or not a player will be available for Sunday. In the case of these four players, at least some of the early indications keep open the possibility of them coming back to the starting lineup.