Dolphins corner back Xavien Howard is doing everything he can to get back on the field.
He has said it to coach Brian Flores. And Flores repeated the statement Friday after Howard remained limited in practice this week.
“Treatment, rehab, getting into [cryotherapy] and massages,” Flores said, “so he’s doing everything he can ... His desire to play is high, and hopefully we’ll get him out there.”
Howard did not play in the Dolphins’ 17-16 loss to the Redskins after being limited in practice with knee soreness the previous week, and he was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. But when asked earlier this week if he would be on the field when the Dolphins take on the 4-1 Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, Howard’s answer was “We’ll see.”
While Flores is hopeful that Howard will be available against a Bills team that averages 232.8 passing yards per game, the Dolphins’ first-year head coach said he doesn’t want to rush Howard back to the field and risk him re-aggravating the knee injury and potentially missing any longer periods of time.
“With any injury, we take that into consideration,” Flores said. “We’ll do what’s best for the player always and … it’s a long season. We got a lot of people, we got a lot of games left to play. We don’t want to have a set back that would lead to instead of one game, it could be seven, eight games. You never want that. So that’s always the case any time we bring a guy back. And the idea is he’ll be back for the long haul when he is back.”
Miami’s secondary will be without safety Reshad Jones on Sunday. Jones (chest) did not participate in practice this week and Flores said Friday he’s ruled out against Buffalo.
O-Line takes injury hit
Center Daniel Kilgore hadn’t missed a snap for the Dolphins before the end of last week’s game.
Kilgore sustained a knee injury in the final seconds against Washington, and after not participating in practice this week, Flores ruled him out for Sunday’s game.
“It puts a lot of pressure on a guy like [Evan] Boehm,” left guard Michael Deiter said. “For me it’s the same. It’s just, a guy like Boehm who’s been playing guard, has to come over and play some center, and it’s tough. That’s a tough transition to have to switch, and in a week, be ready to just take command of the offense and call the calls and make sure everyone is right. I think it’s tough for him but … we got a lot of camaraderie with him playing center … We just listen to whatever Boehm says just like we did Dan, and it’ll be smooth.”
Flores said his confidence remains the same, even without Kilgore on the field. With Boehm likely moving from right guard to center to replace Kilgore, Shaq Calhoun will likely start at right guard.
“I feel good about Boehm, Deiter,” Flores said Thursday. “Those guys on the inside, they work well together. So, as far as identifying protection … I feel good about it.”
Newly CB could play
After claiming corner back Ryan Lewis off waivers earlier this week, Flores said the third-year pro could see the field against Buffalo.
Lewis, who was waived by the Eagles on Monday, played seven games for Buffalo in 2018, recording 15 tackles (12 solo) and two forced fumbles.
“He’s in good shape. He’s smart. He’s a tough kid,” Flores said. “I spent some time with him. We’ll see. It’s hard to come one week in and jump out there. We’ve had a couple guys do it this year. Ryan’s put the work in. I know that. But we’ll just see how this shakes out. He may be in there. It may be defensively. It may be in the kicking game. But he’s definitely eager to play, so hopefully we can get him out there.”
Defensive end Avery Moss, who injured his ankle against Washington, has been ruled out against Buffalo, and receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring) was limited in practice and is questionable.
Six other players were limited in Friday’s practice, per the injury report: G/T Jesse Davis (elbow), LB Trent Harris (foot), CB Chris Lammons (ankle/toe), S Bobby McCain (hamstring/shoulder), RB Mark Walton (thumb) and WR Albert Wilson (calf/hip).