The Dolphins fear that Ted Larsen, their likely starting left guard, suffered a torn biceps in practice, a major blow to an offensive line that is already dealing with the fragile health of center Mike Pouncey.
Initial test results revealed the biceps injury, but the Dolphins were trying to determine the severity of it and how long he will miss, according to a source. It’s expected Larsen will miss at least several weeks of the regular season, potentially longer if the bicep is fully torn.
He might begin the season on injured reserve, with the Dolphins reserving the right to activate him if he’s available to play at some point this season. The NFL in May approved a rule allowing two players to be brought back from injured reserve (after week eight) per team this season, twice the number permitted last season.
The Dolphins’ internal options to replace Larsen are Kraig Urbik (who has been filling in for Pouncey at center), rookie Isaac Asiata, Anthony Steen and Jake Brendel.
The Dolphins expect Pouncey to be available for the start of the regular season, which would allow Urbik to play guard if the Dolphins go in that direction.
Asked Thursday if Asiata, Miami’s fifth-round pick, is ready to challenge for a starting job, offensive line coach Chris Foerster said: “He’s right in that mix with the backup guys to compete. It’s a full-on competition with he and Steen and Brendel and (Jesse) Davis and Urbik. All of them are working their butts off to try and compete. He’s right in the mix with those guys. These preseason games will tell a lot.”
Free agent Orlando Franklin would have interest in Miami, but the Dolphins haven’t pursued him this offseason and New Orleans released him a few days after signing him this week.
There are few other free agent guard options, a group that includes Garrett Reynolds and former Dolphins draft pick Andrew Gardner.
The Dolphins also might explore the trade market for a guard. Denver has depth at that position.
Larsen left practice holding his arm Thursday, and Foerster - while shedding no light on the injury - spoke of Larsen as an ideal fit.
“When you saw what he did throughout his career, the things that we do with our offense, the system that we run, that Coach (Adam) Gase runs, Ted is a good fit for it,” Foerster said. “We saw the things that said ‘Hey, this guy really fits what we do.’ So when he gets here, the things we ask him to do are the things he’s good at. The things that he isn’t as good at, we don’t do as much of. Not that he wasn’t good at it – maybe that’s some of the reasons he didn’t start (in Chicago). I don’t know. We’ll find out; but he’s a good fit for us, both character-wise and ability-wise.”
Now the Dolphins will need to settle on a new left guard to play opposite Jermon Bushrod.