Regardless of whether Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill opts for surgery or not, he will miss “significant” time with his left knee injury, according to league sources.
The Dolphins and Tannehill will decide in the coming days whether Tannehill will opt for weeks of rest and treatment (potentially six weeks or even two months) with the intent of playing this season or instead undergo season-ending knee surgery.
Several doctors will be consulted, including renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews and prominent South Florida based surgeon John Uribe, but the team and Tannehill do not feel any pressure to make a quick decision.
After Tannehill sustained a partially torn ACL and MCL last December, Tannehill - after consulting with doctors - underwent stem-cell treatment but decided it was worth the risk to eschew surgery that would have caused him to miss much of this coming season.
Former San Diego Chargers team physician David Chao, opining in a Thursday column for the San Diego Union Tribune, said the decision not to undergo surgery early this season shouldn’t necessarily be second-guessed but that surgery appears to be the best option now.
“The knee has proven to be unstable,” Chao wrote. “Nine times out of 10, partial ACL ends up unstable and needing surgery. The hope with Tannehill was that he was the exception.”
Regarding the decision to bypass surgery after last December’s injury, Chao said: “Hindsight is 20/20. There were undoubtedly reasonable medical factors that lead to a conservative care approach. Statistically, though, partial ACL tears are rare. Even if truly partial, the question is stability and the vast majority end up needing surgery. A brace can help with knee instability, but no brace can take the place of a ligament.
“Added to concern over Tannehill’s knee instability is the medial collateral ligament. Rarely do NFL sprains/tears need surgery, but commonly when they heal there is mild residual laxity. This accentuates any instability from the ACL. There are four main ligaments in the knee — like the four legs of a chair If a one leg is a little off, the chair rocks but is usable, but if a second leg is damaged, it becomes unusable.”
But the Dolphins and Tannehill, as of Friday morning, had not decided whether to pursue surgery or rest and rehab.
Either way, Tannehill will be out for an extended period of time.
• The Dolphins do not have many appealing options if they add another quarterback to supplement Matt Moore, Brandon Doughty and David Fales. Among those available: Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Thaddeus Lewis, Zach Mettenberger , Charlie Whitehurst, Sean Renfree and Aaron Murray.
• ESPN reported that Fox announcer Jay Cutler would have interest in ending his retirement if the Dolphins brought him in as a starter and paid him starter money.
• Linebacker Neville Hewitt worked off to the side during Friday’s practice. Center Mike Pouncey was in pads and did some individual work. Receivers Rashawn Scott (foot) and Isaiah Ford (knee surgery) and offensive tackle Avery Young remain out.
As The Miami Herald reported Thursday, left guard Ted Larsen is expected to miss extended time, at least part of the regular season if not longer, with a biceps injury.
With Larsen out and Pouncey again held out of team drills, Kraig Urbik opened with the first team at left guard and Anthony Steen lined up with the starters at center. During the first week of camp, Urbik had been the primary first-team center.