Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Friday practiced for the first time since sustaining his knee injury but will not play Sunday and said he’s uncertain if he would be ready for a potential divisional playoff game Jan. 13 at New England.
Tannehill took a few reps with the scout team and said it was “exciting to be back out there. It’s huge. I’ve put in a lot of work to put myself back out here. I felt good. It’s been a while.”
But asked if he could play in a week if the Dolphins win Sunday in Pittsburgh, he said: “I don’t know. I am doing everything I can to get out there as soon as possible, as soon as they clear me to go. Right now, it’s tough to say.”
He also said he and doctors “don’t know” if he will need surgery.
Nevertheless, he said progress clearly has been made in his recovery from partially torn ACL and MCL joints in his left knee. He sustained the injury Dec. 11 against Arizona.
“It’s getting better every day. That’s what we’re working for – to be able to move, protect myself, to be able to move in the pocket, evade the rush,” Tannehill said. “That’s what we’re working through – range of motion, strength and everything to make that possible.”
Have doctors told Gase and Tannehill if Tannehill would be at risk of doing more damage to his knee if he plays?
Gase and Tannehill answered the same question this way:
• Gase: “That’s a question I keep bringing up. That’s why we have to take these somewhat baby steps to go through practice first. Feedback, doctors. It’s an ongoing process to try to figure out the right thing to do. That’s really where we’re at right now with him. We’ll ask him this afternoon and say ‘Did anything feel awkward? Do we have any kind of issues the next day? That’s why we did it today to try to see – we have the next couple days to see what happens post practice.”
• Tannehill: “That’s something we’re working through. Just figuring out where my knee is structurally and we’re being smart with it. If there’s a huge risk of doing further damage, then Adam has made it clear he’s not going let me go back out there. That’s what we’re working through right now. That’s what we’re working through right now, working with the doctors, communicating how I feel, doing the tests on it to see what they feel and marrying those up.”
Gase said he “felt good about our decision to not play him this week. He’s been on me pretty good to get back out there and do some work. I talked to [a doctor] yesterday and he felt we were ready to at least take that next step to where he can get out there and do some scout team stuff and see how he’s moving and see how he feels. Today was a good opportunity for us to do that.”
Did he look like the Tannehill of old?
“It’s going to look different,” Gase said. “He’s a little bit ahead of schedule if you really look at that injury. I don’t know if he’s going to be 100 percent with the amount of times that’s left. He might come in tomorrow and feel stiff. We’re still going through that process.”
Please click here for my exclusive on why the Dolphins released Jason Jones. And here’s my story with news on the team’s linebacker situation, the Dolphins’ plans for that position and some eye-opening Kiko Alonso comments.