When Knowshon Moreno showed up to work Tuesday, you would have needed a copy of his MRI to have the slightest clue his season was over.
Moreno suffered his second major ACL injury in four seasons Sunday afternoon, but Tuesday he barely walked with a limp.
That might help explain how Moreno could suffer a year-ending injury in the Packers game, yet the Dolphins have no idea for the better part of the day.
Despite hurting his knee, apparently on a third-quarter catch and run, he didn’t tell the appropriate people on game day that something was amiss – not his coach, and not his medical staff.
That’s according to Joe Philbin, who defended his team’s handling of Moreno’s situation against criticism that the team did not properly report the injury at the time. Moreno didn’t play for most of the second half, but the coaching staff has repeatedly said that the decision was not based on his health.
“I didn’t know of his injury and we went with the guys that we felt gave us the best chance to win the game,” Philbin said.
Sometime between then and Tuesday morning’s roster move, Moreno had imaging taken of the knee, which showed it too damaged to play again this season.
It cuts short a promising first – and possibly only – year in Miami, which will be remembered more for his medical issues than for anything he did on the field.
He needed arthroscopic knee surgery over the summer, costing him much of training camp, and then dislocated his elbow in Week 2.
Sunday’s loss to Green Bay was his first game back. It will also be his last.
That news came as a surprise to teammates, who, like their coach, had no clue something was wrong.
“It’s always tough losing a player, but when a guy brings so much emotion and intensity to the game, it’s going to be tough without him,” Mike Wallace said of Moreno, who carried the ball 31 times for 148 yards after signing a one-year, $3 million contract.
“But we’ve got some guys who can hopefully rally together and fill those shoes.”
The most likely candidate: Lamar Miller, who has been one of the most efficient running backs in football. He is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this year, which is tied for fourth among qualifying players.
But in his first three pro seasons, Miller has never averaged more than 12 carries per game, and some question if he can handle the rigors of an increased workload.
He is not one of them.
“I feel like I can help more, but anything [offensive coordinator Bill] Lazor calls, I’m just trying to do everything I can to help this team win,” Miller said.
Of course, he’s not completely healthy, either. Miller is dealing with an undisclosed issue and was one of six players to miss at least some of practice Tuesday. The others: Branden Albert, Samson Satele, Koa Misi, Charles Clay and Jimmy Wilson, who apparently has a tender hamstring.
The Dolphins did get a much-needed contributor back Tuesday: Derrick Shelby, whose indefinite suspension after an arrest outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub was ended after just one game.
“We have completed our process and have made the determination to reinstate Derrick,” Philbin said in a written statement. “Derrick understood that he would be held accountable for his actions as they did not represent our organizational standards.”
Upon his reinstatement, Shelby apologized to owner Stephen Ross, Philbin, his teammates and Dolphins fans.
“When you mess up, you know you mess up,” Shelby said. “You’ve got to roll with it. I’m not perfect.”
The Dolphins could have used Shelby on the defense’s futile last stand Sunday against Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers traveled 60 yards to score a winning touchdown, and Shelby said he could tell his winded defensive linemates could have used his help.
The loss dropped Miami to 2-3, and has seemingly put the season on the precipice.
“We’ve only earned two wins,” Philbin said. “You’ve got to earn victories. I can sit here and say we should be this and should be that, but the facts are we played well enough to win two games. So that’s all we deserve, really.”