Seven months after suffering a serious neck injury that ended his 2016 season, linebacker Koa Misi is apparently still not healthy enough for the Dolphins to put him in a live practice setting.
Misi, the oft-injured linebacker, was expected to be cleared some time in May. But with a week left until June, that timeline may have been pushed back.
Misi, who underwent major surgery last fall, was not present Thursday for the Dolphins’ first organized team activities practice open to reporters.
“Koa, we've still got some time until we get him out there,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We're going through the proper medical procedures with him. We're not going to rush a guy that had they type of injury he had.”
Without Misi, the Dolphins’ other two projected starting linebackers — Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons — got plenty of exercise.
Timmons was an inside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme, but the Dolphins signaled Thursday that they do indeed plan to play him on the outside.
“I didn't notice any issues,” Gase said of Timmons’ work as an outside linebacker. “The guy's a veteran, he's been doing it forever and you can put him wherever you want and the guy's going to figure out how to make plays.”
▪ The Dolphins’ opening day offensive line better look nothing like the unit that lined up for the first 11-on-11 snap Thursday. The line was without three starters: Mike Pouncey, Ja’Wuan James and Jermon Bushrod.
Pouncey being held out wasn’t a surprise. Out of an abundance of caution over his recurring hip injury, Pouncey is not expected to do much until the start of the season. Gase did say his star center is making progress.
James, meanwhile, has suffered an undisclosed injury in recent days.
“Ja'Wuan's trying to do as much as he can,” Gase said. “We're trying to be smart with what we're doing. We've got four days until our next OTAs. I don't want to throw him out there just so we can say we throw him out there and he's at 85 percent, where in four days we may be at 100.”
Bushrod was in uniform but did not participate in 11-on-11 drills; Gase suggested that his issue was not major.
▪ Defensive end William Hayes practiced for “a couple of days” but didn’t Thursday due to injury, Gase said. Rookie receiver Francis Owusu presumably was not allowed to participate because his school, Stanford, was not done with its academic obligations for the year.
▪ Two backup Dolphins quarterbacks threw pick-sixes Thursday: Matt Moore to Cordrea Tankersley and David Fales to Tony Lippett.
“I'm happy for Tony for about one second and then I'm mad at him because he figured out what we were doing and jumped the route, which is good,” Gase said. “We'll figure out a way to scheme him up and get them in the next OTA.”
▪ Receiver DeVante Parker was impressive, catching a number of passes over the middle.