Even in losing to Green Bay, the Dolphins got a bit of good news on Sunday when Ryan Tannehill was able to resume throwing without pain.
The Dolphins are hoping, but hardly certain, that Tannehill will be able to play Nov. 25 at Indianapolis, their next game after this weekend’s bye.
After not throwing for a week, Tannehill attempted an undisclosed number of throws on Sunday and for the first time in a while, did not experience discomfort while throwing it, according to coach Adam Gase.
“That was the start of their throwing progression after so many off,” Gase said Monday. “It seemed like it went well. It’s not like he’s out there throwing 60-yard throws. They have a progression of how they want to do it. They said it was a good first step and he felt good. So that’s a positive.”
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Meanwhile, the Dolphins received more good news when an MRI revealed receiver Jakeem Grant did not tear his Achilles’ tendon in Sunday’s loss at Green Bay, as initially feared, according to a source. There’s optimism he can return this season.
As for Tannehill, he has now has missed five games with a capsule injury in his right (throwing) shoulder.
“That was the start of their throwing progression after so many off,” Gase said of Sunday’s throwing session. “It seemed like it went well. It’s not he’s out there throwing 60-yard throws. They have a progression of how they want to it. They said it was a good first step and he felt good. So that’s a positive.”
Tannehill will throw multiple times this week, though the team did not reveal an exact schedule. If it goes well, he could return to practice on Monday.
“Right now, they’re trying to get to where every day, we’re not getting him saying, ‘I’m having pain,’” Gase said. “It’s the progression of when we hit Wednesday [Nov. 21], hopefully, we can get it where they are saying, ‘Let him practice. This is where you need to keep the throws at.’ Or they just say, ‘Let him go. He’ll be all right.’ I am waiting for those directives from those guys. If we can get through this week and he feels great every day, then we got a shot [for the Colts game].”
Doctors are advising Tannehill how many times he should throw during each session this week and how far he should throw.
“It’s a pitch count, distance,” Gase said. “There are a lot of factors involved. It’s like what they’re doing right now – it’s like don’t throw any balls over 15 yards, don’t through any over 20, 25. It’s going to be a progression. He didn’t throw a ball there for a while. We’ve got to be careful. There has to be a buildup from there.”
Before an MRI revealed that Grant didn’t tear his Achilles’, Gase said Monday that he had no update on Grant or DeVante Parker, who underwent an MRI on his injured shoulder.
Asked if both will return this season, Gase said: “That hasn’t even been brought up to me as far as those guys missing the rest of the season.”
Grant has a leg injury and Parker has a shoulder injury.
The Dolphins are now down to just two healthy receivers: Danny Amendola and Kenny Stills. Leonte Carroo, who had two big plays on special teams on Sunday, is positioned to become the No. 3 receiver if Grant and Parker miss time.
If Grant and Parker miss time, The Dolphins also might promote a receiver from their practice squad: Isaiah Ford or Malcolm Lewis. Ford, the team’s seventh-round pick in 2017, had some good moments in the team’s offseason program and early in training camp.
Among free agent receivers available: former Dolphins receiver Tanner McEvoy, Canes receiver Rashawn Scott and former Baltimore receiver Kamar Aiken.
Grant, who has been dealing with an Achilles’ injury, came up lame when running a route in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss at Green Bay. Grant pounded his hand on the turf in disgust and was taken to the locker-room in a stretcher. He left the stadium in a walking boot.
Grant, greatly improved as a receiver, has 21 catches for 268 yards (a 12.8 average) and two touchdowns.
Grant leads with the NFL with 535 kickoff return yards and is third in average kickoff returns at 29.7. He also has a touchdown.
Senorise Perry is one option to replace Grant on kickoff returns if Grant misses time; Perry is averaging 22.3 yards on six returns this season. Rookie running back Kalen Ballage is another option.
Grant ranks second in the league in punt return average at 16.3 and also has a punt return for a touchdown.
He has returned 14 punts this season while Danny Amendola has returned two for 14.
Parker, who left the locker-room Sunday wearing a sling on his shoulder, has 14 catches for 225 yards but has been limited to five games, including four starts, because of an August finger injury and an October quadriceps injury.
The Dolphins finished Sunday’s game without 11 players who were expected to have a significant role this season, including nine on offense: quarterback Ryan Tannehill, offensive linemen Josh Sitton, Daniel Kilgore, Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, receivers Grant and Parker and Albert Wilson and tight end MarQueis Gray.
Sitton, Kilgore, Wilson and Gray are on injured reserve and will not play again this season.
On defense, the Dolphins finished the game without end William Hayes (who is on injured reserve) and cornerback Bobby McCain (who’s in concussion protocol). McCain’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on his weekly segment on WSVN-Fox 7 on Sunday night that McCain’s injury is not serious and there’s optimism he will be able to return for Miami’s next game, Nov. 25 at Indianapolis.
Dolphins players met on Monday but they will be off the remainder of their bye week. Teams sometimes practice at least Wednesday of their bye week, but Gase decided against scheduling a practice this week.
“We’ve played 10 games,” Gase said of his reason for giving players the week off.