The Miami Dolphins rested kicker Caleb Sturgis for nearly two weeks hoping his strained groin would healthy enough for him to kick during Saturday night's 20-14 preseason win over Tampa Bay.
Sturgis was 3-for-3 on field goals attempts during Thursday's practice, participated in Friday's walk through, and began warming up on the field before Miami's second preseason game. However, numerous television stations caught Sturgis re-aggravating his groin strain during his warm-up.
The coaches immediately shut the former University of Florida standout down, and used newly signed kicker John Potter for all field goals, extra points and kickoffs against the Buccaneers.
Sturgis' groin issues are problematic for the Dolphins because this is the second straight year the team's 2013 fifth-round pick has been limited by a strained groin.
Sturgis' groin hindered him during last year's preseason work, but didn't stop him from beating out Dan Carpenter for the starting spot.
Last season Sturgis started out well during the regular season, making all 10 of his first few field goal attempts. Then a groin strain contributed to him missing five field goals in the middle of the season, and those missed kicks played a factor in Miami's losses to the Ravens, Bills and Patriots.
Sturgis did finish out 2013 making 16-of-19 field goals in the season's finale eight games.
If Sturgis doesn't make a full recovery by Aug. 30, which is the day all NFL teams must trim the roster to 53 players, his status could become problematic for first-year GM Dennis Hickey because it would be burdensome to carry two kickers on the 53-man roster.
However, the Dolphins can't afford to have Sturgis' groin problems cost the team victories, and field position on kickoffs like last season. Miami could place Sturgis on injured reserve, and make him the one player allowed to come off IR during the season. However, that would mean he'd miss the first half of this season, or possible the entire year.
That move would also require the Dolphins to find a competent kicker to serve as his replacement. A few options outside of Potter should be available on the waiver wire after Aug. 30.
Cutting Sturgis, who is in the second year of a $2.3 million contract that featured a $144,560 signing bonus, is a possibility. However, it is more realistic that the Dolphins stash him on the 53-man roster.
The Dolphins could find a kicker eligible for the practice squad, and have him work alongside Sturgis in September. Potter, who has played in nine NFL games the previous two seasons, does not have practice squad eligibility.
Right now Sturgis' groin strain has two weeks to heal before anything must be decided.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun