Ja’Wuan James’ season is over.
The Dolphins placed their starting right tackle on injured reserve after a second opinion on his badly injured left hamstring proved the first one right. He will likely need surgery.
“This was the best decision for him,” Gase said. “It's going to be about him just getting healthy. He's got a lot of time right now. Once he gets this going, we'll see how it quick it is.
The injury comes at a perilous time for both the team and the player.
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The Dolphins have lost two straight game, and James was one of very few bright spots. He had made real improvements over a poor 2016, and along with Mike Pouncey, was their best lineman.
Now, they will turn to Jesse Davis, who finished the Raiders game at right tackle after James got hurt. Veteran Sam Young is also an option.
Meanwhile, the timing could not be worse for James, who is in Year 4 of his rookie deal. The Dolphins picked up his fifth-year option of $9.3 million, and while it is guaranteed in case of injury, the Dolphins would only be on the hook for it if his issue is serious enough to bleed into the 2018 season.
When asked if he wants James on the roster next year, Gase replied:
“We have to go through a long process before we even get to that. Obviously, I'm really big into making sure our guys stay here, but we're so far away from it, it's hard for me to look past tomorrow.”
This is the second time in three years James has missed extended time and finished the 2015 season on injured reserve with a dislocated big toe.
James’ spot on the roster is filled by T.J. McDonald, whose eight-game suspension has officially ended.
▪ Running back Damien Williams was back at practice Saturday after missing the previous two days due to illness. Thomas (knee), defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (knee) and receiver Jakeem Grant (illness) also participated after missing time earlier in the week.
Thomas, Williams, Grant, guard Ted Larsen (biceps), cornerback Bobby McCain (hamstring) and linebacker Mike Hull (shoulder/ankle) are all listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Panthers. All are expected to play.