Barry Jackson

Dolphins dealing with injury issues; NFL rules on NBC Dolphins game; Sod replaced

Miami Dolphins center Kraig Urbik 60, quarterback Matt Moore 8, and Laremy Tunsil 67, set the line as they play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, December 17, 2016.
Miami Dolphins center Kraig Urbik 60, quarterback Matt Moore 8, and Laremy Tunsil 67, set the line as they play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, December 17, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Dolphins are dealing with multiple injuries at a particularly inopportune time — on a short week, with just three days to prepare for Thursday’s game at Baltimore.

The Dolphins did not practice on Monday, but left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee), guard Anthony Steen (foot), defensive end Andre Branch (groin), receiver DeVante Parker (ankle) and quarterback Jay Cutler (ribs) would not have practiced even if the Dolphins had practiced, according to the team. Matt Moore will replace Cutler against the Ravens.

If Tunsil and Steen cannot play, the Dolphins might need to use some combination of tackle/guard Jesse Davis, left tackle Sam Young (inactive against the Jets) and perhaps guard/center Jake Brendel as starters against Baltimore.

Coach Adam Gase said there’s a chance Tunsil might be able to play Thursday. The Dolphins didn’t announce Steen’s injury until after Gase had spoken.

Regarding Tunsil, Gase said the news is “more positive than we initially thought. We were concerned. We were thinking the worst. We have a good chance he will be OK.”

Davis, who played tackle at Idaho, played some right tackle and left tackle during the game after competing at guard during preseason. Tunsil played 41 snaps before departing with his injury; Davis played 33.

Gase said Davis “did good. Early in the game wasn’t easy for him. Once he realized no one is coming in to save [him], he got real comfortable and really did a good job of finishing every play.”

Gase was non-committal about whether Branch would play Thursday.

With Branch leaving in the second half with an injury, Charles Harris had the most snaps of the ends — 34, compared with 32 for Cam Wake, 27 for William Hayes, 18 for Branch and seven for Terrence Fede.

As for Parker, Gase said the Dolphins never intended to use him against the Jets because they wanted to give his ankle another week to heal. The third-year receiver has neither practiced nor played since injuring his ankle Oct. 8 against Tennessee.

When asked earlier Monday if Parker is close to returning to action, Gase said “that’s hard for me to say.”

Parker would not have participated Monday if the Dolphins actually practiced; they held a walk through late in the day. Parker said he will test the ankle Tuesday.

The Dolphins could ultimately decide to shut him down for one more game and give him through their mini-bye to get healthy.

Meanwhile, a bunch of players would have been limited in practice if the team had practiced, according to Miami’s injury report: running back Jay Ajayi (knee/elbow), right tackle Ja’Wuan James (hand), cornerback Byron Maxwell (foot), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (ankle), Pouncey (knee/hip) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee).

DOLPHINS-RAIDERS STAYS AT NIGHT

Though no public announcement was made, the NFL informed all involved parties on Sunday night and Monday that the Raiders-at-Dolphins game will remain NBC’s Sunday night football game on Nov. 5 and will not be flexed to the afternoon. This will be the Dolphins’ first Sunday night appearance since 2010.

The Dolphins will have three consecutive nationally televised games.

▪ Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel said on Instagram that the Hard Rock Stadium sod was removed Monday and will be replaced.

The field was resodded last week but chewed up during the University of Miami-Syracuse game on Saturday and was in bad shape for Sunday’s Dolphins-Jets game.

Though multiple players tripped and Michael Strahan called the field “not suitable” during Fox’s halftime show, the NFL told The Miami Herald on Sunday that “the field was tested both during the week and again [Sunday] morning, as per NFL policy, and was certified as in compliance with league standards.”

▪ Gase said linebacker Rey Maualuga’s chance to play one snap at fullback happened Sunday weeks after he suggested it. The Dolphins ran for a first down on that third-and-1, with Maualuga blocking effectively.

“He said something to me three weeks ago,” Gase said. “He said, ‘You know I can play fullback.’ I said: ‘Great.’ It came up again. He was working a lot of areas in the building, trying to get in there. He did a good job.”

Maualuga said he told Gase: ‘Hey coach, need a fullback? I got one yard. I’ll give you one yard. If we need a yard, I’ll get that for you.’ It went like that.”

▪ The Dolphins rushed for just 53 yards (2.1 per carry) against a Jets defense that had struggled against the run, and Gase said of his offensive line this season: “We’re a little inconsistent. Sometimes we’re losing straight one-on-ones. Sometimes we will lose it at the wrong time. ... [But] I do like that group up front. They’ve shown a lot the last couple weeks with the fight and finish.”

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