EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill remains hopeful he can still play at some point before the 2017 season -- either in the season-finale against the New England Patriots or the playoffs if his team makes the postseason.
This despite a report by NBC and the NFL Network Saturday evening that said Tannehill’s MCL is completely torn off the bone.
“Obviously, I’m hoping,” Tannehill said in his first interview since partially tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen at this point. Nobody knows ... We’ll find out shortly but nobody knows.”
Tannehill has gotten multiple opinions about his knee injury and, as far as he and the team know, the injury to each ligament is a sprain -- in other words, a partial but not complete tear of either. So the team and Tannehill are hopeful they can avoid reconstructive surgery even if that remains a possibility in the shadows.
The broader question Saturday, after the Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 34-13 was whether the MCL was indeed completely severed as was reported.
‘A sprain is a very broad term,” Tannehill said before adding that his ligaments are not fully torn.
“Not completely,” he said. “It’s not a Grade 3. A Grade 3 sprain is completely torn. A sprain could be a torn anything. It’s not completely torn all the way off but definitely there’s damage.
“It’s categorized as a Grade 2 so there’s still some integrity there.”
And that is exactly what the Dolphins have said and what The Herald has reported. Tannehill has a partially torn the ACL and MCL. He is wearing a full leg cast that has him hobbling about with crutches. He is hoping rehabilitation and muscle strengthening will return stability to the knee enough to rule out the need for surgery.
Tannehill spent the game Saturday night on the Dolphins sideline, although not close to the field so as to not get run over accidently.
He watched backup Matt Moore lead the Dolphins to a win over the New York Jets that improved Miami’s record to 9-5. Moore completed 12 of 18 passes for 236 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. His rating was 126.2.
And that made Tannehill very pleased.
“Exciting,” Tannehill said. “I’m excited about how he came out. He let the ball fly and played loose. Our guys played well as a whole. Our defense gave us some big plays early on, kind of got us going. Offense started off slow but the defense kind of sparked the whole thing and the offense took off and put up a bunch of points after that.”
Last week when Tannehill was injured, Moore spent several moments with him to console and encourage him. Saturday night it was Tannehill talking to Moore after the game.
“Yeah, I said I was proud of him,” Tannehill said. “I’m proud of the way he played. I believed in him 100 percent. The locker room believes in him 100 percent so I’m excited to see him have success.”
Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero