During the NFL Network broadcast of the Miami Dolphins’ 34-13 win over the New York Jets, sideline reporter Heather Cox reported Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who missed his first game since being drafted in 2012, had his left leg immobilized with a full-leg cast and that the MCL in the knee had torn off the bone. This seemed to indicate a more serious injury than had been previously reported about Tannehill.
Miami lost their starting quarterback in the third quarter of last week’s win over the Arizona Cardinals when he was hit in the knee just after delivering a pass. The injury was described as a sprain of the ACL and MCL in the knee. Technically, a sprain is a tear, but the fact that it was not being described as a tear indicated it was not as severe as feared at the time of the injury. Tannehill was also said to not need surgery. The Dolphins have not placed Tannehill on injured reserve, leading to speculation that he could return to the field in Week 17 or in the Playoffs should Miami qualify.
Matt Moore started in place of Tannehill on Saturday and went 12-for-18 for 136 yards with four touchdowns and an interception, giving him a 126.2 passer rating.
After the game, Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero asked Tannehill about the injury and if Cox’s report was accurate:
Ryan Tannehill says he did not tear the MCL off the bone.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) December 18, 2016
Ryan Tannehill says MCL is not a grade 3 sprain but a grade 2 sprain. And so the MCL is still at least partially attached.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) December 18, 2016
Likely, this is semantics, with “off” the key word. Cox’s report was probably to indicate that Tannehill - who is in a full-leg cast, but was on the sideline with the aid of crutches - does have a tear to the MCL that needs time to heal. Tannehill, and by extension the Dolphins, are saying that the MCL is not completely torn off the bone.
Whatever the case, it is a serious injury, though a completely torn off the bone ligament - which would be a grade three sprain - would likely require surgery. Tannehill not, as of yet at least, needing to undergo a surgical repair is a good sign about the health of his knee.