The Miami Dolphins biggest game in five weeks will happen on Sunday when they face the 49ers and they won’t be at full strength.
This time of year it is no surprise that NFL teams are banged up and the Dolphins are no different. Facing their toughest test in more than a month, the Dolphins will play the NFL’s top defense, potentially without two starters on offense.
Mike McDaniel spoke with the media today and said that Austin Jackson who returned from an injury reserve stint since week one, last week, will not play this week after suffering another ankle injury in last week’s game against the Texans.
Jackson was originally injured in week one and missed the entire season until last week. It isn’t clear how long he will miss now but he will not be on the field Sunday. In his place, the Dolphins should have Brandon Shell who has played well since joining the team midseason.
On the other side of the line, the status of Terron Armstead is still completely unknown. McDaniel told the media that he will not rule Armstead out of the game but his chances of playing are questionable at best. Armstead suffered a grade 2 pectoral injury last week.
In the 2nd half of the Dolphins’ win over the Texans, Miami lost their top offensive lineman when Armstead exited the game. While the worst-case scenario didn’t happen, Armstead still will need to heal from a partial chest muscle tear. Will he play this week? That is the question that everyone wants to know but an encouraging sign is that he will practice in a limited fashion ahead of the game.
Finally, the Dolphins will not have Byron Jones this week, and not likely next week either. The corner has missed all season, remaining on the PUP list since off-season Achilles surgery. The weekly “will he or won’t he” drama continues to play out. McDaniel is hopeful that Jones will return this season but as each week passes by you have to wonder if he will provide any value to the secondary if he does.
Jones will need to get into football shape and shake off the rust before he returns to his previous form last year and with only six weeks left in the regular season, the clock continues to tick towards him missing the entire season.