With Hurricane Matthew a threat to make landfall in South Florida on Thursday, the Dolphins have already walked through contingencies about what might happen to their home game Sunday if forecasters’ worst fears are realized.
Hard Rock Stadium and its brand new shade canopy is built to withstand the wind of a Category 4 storm; Matthew made landfall Tuesday in Haiti as a Category 4 with sustained winds of 145 mph.
South Florida is on the west edge of the storm’s cone of concern, and if it does hit South Florida late Thursday, it’s expected to do so as a Category 3 or 4.
“Obviously, right now we’re thinking about the people in Haiti,” Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel told the Miami Herald. “There’s a lot of uncertainty around what will happen in the next few days, and we’re watching it very closely. We’ll be prepared to react however we need to when we have more information.”
Hard Rock is scheduled to host two major sporting events in 17 hours this weekend: the nationally televised Miami-Florida State game Saturday night, and then Dolphins-Titans the next afternoon.
Not only must the weather be clear, but roads must be safe for people to drive to the stadium in Miami Gardens.
As for the team, the Dolphins practice Tuesday and Wednesday, have Thursday off, then return to the field Friday.
“If we need to make any changes, there’s plans in place already,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We had discussions before we took off for summer break, we had discussions after we got back, as far as certain situations of what we would do. We went to the extent if we ever had to go somewhere else, if we had to leave early in a week. We have protocols that we have in place. It’s just now kind of a wait-and-see for us.”
The Associated Press reported that Titans coach Mike Mularkey said there have been preliminary discussions about the possibility of playing Sunday’s game in Nashville if Hurricane Matthew necessitates a change.
FOSTER, CAMERON STILL SIDELINED
Running back Arian Foster (hamstring), tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) and left tackle Branden Albert (illness) all sat out practice Thursday. Backup center Anthony Steen also missed practice; he’s dealing with an ankle injury.
On the defensive side, Jelani Jenkins (groin) missed practice after sitting out Thursday’s game. However, Koa Misi (neck) was back on the field; he also didn’t play in Cincinnati.
Cameron is dealing with his fourth concussion in as many years, and he hasn’t played since Week 3. Cameron might not be back anytime soon, either. The Dolphins signed Dominique Jones on Monday, adding a fourth tight end to their roster. Plus, ESPN reported last week that Cameron has recently visited Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which is a top brain trauma facility.
“I don’t think it’s alarming,” Gase said. “I think it’s a guy that’s just trying to make sure he’s checking all his boxes and make sure things are right with him. That was something we really encouraged with him as well.”