It took a little bit of patience, considering the fate of the Dolphins’ season possibly hung in the balance, but after a long day of speculation, it appears the news many fans dreaded isn’t nearly as bad as everyone thought 24 hours ago.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. As reported this afternoon, Chad Pennington will indeed miss the remainder of the season with the shoulder injury he suffered yesterday. Just another tough break for a great guy, but unfortunately that’s just the nature of the business. If this is it for Pennington, what he did for this franchise in 2008 will never be forgotten by Dolphin fans.
As for the other quarterback, Chad Henne, initial reports yesterday that said he would also “likely” miss the rest of the season, appear like nothing more than rumors at this point. Sparano said Henne is “day to day” at this point and is “hopeful” he can start again this season. For now, though, the Dolphins will have to make do with Tyler Thigpen, who looked more than capable of leading this offense yesterday.
Backup wise, if you haven’t heard yet, the Dolphins worked out a number of quarterbacks earlier today, including JaMarcus Russell and Tommy Grady, but ultimately decided to sign the veteran Patrick Ramsey and add former Colt Tom Brandstater to the practice squad. Ramsey hasn’t played a snap since 2008, but the Dolphins needed a veteran presence not only for insurance, but to help coach Thigpen in practice and in the film room. Brandstater on the other hand, was a sixth round pick in 2009, but has great size at 6’5, 222 lbs. and will surely serve as a developmental project on the Dolphins’ P.S.
Moving on to the other two critical injuries, all indications are pointing to premiere pass rusher Cameron Wake being just fine and Jake Long’s shoulder being better than expected but still “iffy” for Thursday night. Outside of Wake, the Dolphins’ lack another true pass rusher, so his presence would have definitely been missed if he would have had to miss significant time. Let’s not forget, the Bears have given up the most sacks of any team in the league, so Wake is more than capable of making several game changing plays Thursday night. But we really don’t even need to talk about Wake’s hip injury, because he practiced fully in the Dolphins’ walk-through tonight.
As for Long, though, nobody knows if he’s going to be able to play Thursday night yet. Earlier this evening, Long told the Sun-Sentinel that he plans to play against the Bears if he can get medical clearance. But ESPN’s Chris Morensen later tweeted the following: “reported that Jake Long also has some labrum damage w shoulder injury. Long may try to wear shoulder injury. Long may try to wear shoulder harness but is iffy vs. Bears”
Not having Jake against the Bears would be a pretty big blow considering Julius Peppers comes to town Thursday night. One thing about Thigpen starting, though, is that his mobility could offset poor blocking. Then again, he’s no Micheal Vick. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed there, but at least those rumors about him being out for the year turned out to be just that, rumors.
Here’s the injury report from tonight’s walk-through
Did Not Practice: C Joe Berger (knee), FS Chris Clemons (hamstring), QB Chad Henne (knee), LT Jake Long (knee), LT Jake Long (shoulder)
Limited: SS Yeremiah Bell (toe), RT Vernon Carey (knee) SS Tyrone Culver (ankle), WR Roberto Wallace (knee)
Practice Fully: OLB Cameron Wake (hip), Channing Crowder (ribs), Karlos Dansby (elbow), Tim Dobbins (ankle), Kendall Langford (ankle)