Barry Jackson

Dolphins make clear their approach with Tannehill

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts after Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) is intercepted in the end zone in the second quarter as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts after Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) is intercepted in the end zone in the second quarter as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

The Dolphins continue to hope that Ryan Tannehill can return for their first playoff game, a scenario that certainly has not been ruled out.

But coach Adam Gase said Thursday that Tannehill won’t be cleared until “I feel comfortable with what doctors are telling me that we’re not going to have any kind of injury that could prevent him from hurting his career or hurting his chances to play next year. We’re going to be very smart.”

Tannehill, who observed but did not participate in practice Thursday, is throwing “a little bit but he’s not moving,” Gase said. “Just out there keeping his arm loose.”

Tannehill’s knee injury has improved after receiving treatment from Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., but he’s not ready to play yet. And whether he will be ready to play in nine or 10 days is something the Dolphins genuinely do not yet know.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore talks with the media about being nervous on his first start to replace injured Ryan Tannehill Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Moore had a career-high four touchdown passes to lead the Dolphins to a 34-13 victory over

Though the Dolphins believe there’s a real shot he can play in the playoffs, one offensive teammate said playing the playoff opener is a stretch in his opinion.

Tannehill, who is wearing a knee brace, isn’t walking completely normally but doesn’t have a pronounced limp.

Tannehill has a partially torn MCL and ACL, but the MCL is a greater concern than the ACL.

Grade 2 MCL tears often can heal in four to six weeks, and a first-round playoff game would be four weeks after he suffered the injury.

Matt Moore helped win the Arizona game after Tannehill left, and has won his two subsequent starts. Moore’s 113 passer rating would rank second in the league if he had enough passes to qualify.

Had two other Dolphins posts today: Please click here for why a Dolphins player is saying Gase could end up being a “younger, nicer” Nick Saban, who has had considerable influence on Gase’s career... Please click here for a bunch of personnel notes from the Dolphins’ coordinators today. And please follow me on Twitter (@flasportsbuzz).

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