Dolphins safety Brandon Jones’ knee injury is season-ending ACL tear; plus, Wednesday’s injury updates – The Denver Post


The worst-case scenario for Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones and his knee injury has become reality.

Coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday it was an anterior cruciate ligament tear that Jones suffered in last Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it will end the season for the Dolphins’ leading tackler through seven games.

“I feel terrible, absolutely terrible for a guy that was playing at a very, very high level,” McDaniel said.

The team felt his loss in a Wednesday morning film session.

“You could hear the hurt with the team when his highlights would come on, because there was a ton of them,” the Dolphins coach added.

“Brandon has a pretty big impact on that defense,” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said. “Dudes love being around this guy. … He’ll definitely be missed, but for me, that’s my boy.”

Added outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips: “It’s horrible. … His routine, his work ethic is unmatched on this team and, probably, this league. It’s heartbreaking, definitely, but we’re here for him.”

McDaniel’s latest update before Wednesday was that there were still things the Dolphins’ medical staff was looking at to confirm the severity of the knee ailment, but he sounded discouraged about news that was forthcoming.

McDaniel did not reveal what the defensive plan Miami will go with to replace Jones, who officially was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, in his strong safety role.

Veteran Eric Rowe seems a likely candidate, but against the Steelers, McDaniel used a combination of special-teamer Clayton Fejedelem and undrafted rookie Verone McKinley, a practice-squad elevation for the game.

“Those packages are ever-changing week by week,” said McDaniel, noting it has to do with utilizing player strengths given game circumstances. “From an offensive perspective, it makes it very difficult because you’ll see people move around.”

He offered that Rowe, who on Wednesday in the locker room backed up McDaniel’s explanation over defensive packages against Pittsburgh, had shown encouraging signs, though.

“Eric had two of his best days of practice, specifically within the last week and he’s doing some real good stuff,” McDaniel said.

As Fejedelem was one of five Dolphins who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice due to a groin injury, Rowe was asked if he is preparing for scenarios involving him either playing starter snaps alongside free safety Jevon Holland or work into a package rotation.

“I’m preparing for it. We’ll see how this week goes with the game plan the coaches come up with,” Rowe said.

“Taking something from his game, I want to fly around like he does,” said Rowe of Jones, whose season ends with 49 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. “It’s not easy, but I’m going to try to replicate it.”

The Dolphins’ ailing secondary, with Nik Needham also out for the season with an Achilles tear and no imminent return for fellow cornerback Byron Jones (leg) from the physically-unable-to-perform list, is trying to return cornerbacks Kader Kohou (oblique) and Keion Crossen (knee) to the lineup. Both were limited participants at Wednesday’s practice.

“I’m optimistic with those human beings, just knowing that we have a good collection of players on this team that I can trust how bad they want to play,” McDaniel said. “It killed them not to play in this last one, so I feel good about it in that, if it’s feasible, they’ll make the outing.”

Without Kohou and Crossen, Noah Igbinoghene and Justin Bethel stepped up as the second and third corners playing with All-Pro Xavien Howard. Each had an interception in the win over the Steelers with Igbinoghene’s sealing the victory in the final seconds.

Howard (groin), while seen at Wednesday drills, was listed as a non-participant, as was tight end Durham Smythe (hamstring).

Miami is also hoping to return defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, the team’s sack leader in 2021, after he missed the Steelers game with a back injury.

“He’s doing better,” said McDaniel of Ogbah, who was limited Wednesday.

“We knew the game before [against the Vikings] that he was going to have, to have a big game from how we’re going to operate as a defense. He rose to the challenge got nicked in the process. But hoping that we’re going to get him back on the field here soon, optimistic about [this Sunday against the Detroit Lions], but just because I know where his game was at, he was in a really good place. And he wants to get back there as soon as possible. I know he’ll do whatever it takes.”

Left tackle Terron Armstead (toe) and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (veteran rest) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Others limited aside from Ogbah, Kohou and Crossen were linebacker Jerome Baker (hip), tight end Tanner Conner (knee), tackle Greg Little (Achilles), defensive tackle Zach Sieler (hand/ankle), quarterback Skylar Thompson (right thumb), wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (shoulder) and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (hand).

For the Lions (1-5), running back D’Andre Swift, who has been out the past month, had full practice participation Wednesday as he seeks to return. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (concussion protocol) was limited and is expected to be cleared in time for the game. Tight end T.J. Hockenson and defensive end Charles Harris were among nine who missed Wednesday drills. …

The Dolphins signed offensive lineman Grant Hermanns to the practice squad on Wednesday. The undrafted second-year player out of Purdue was on the New York Jets’ practice squad last season and earlier this year, elevated to their active roster for three games, playing in two of them.



Source link