The Miami Dolphins exited the team’s offseason training activities will two important players sidelined by serious injuries.
On Monday, Dolphins center Mike Pouncey had a surgical procedure done to repair a hip injury he was nursing last week during minicamp. And tailback Knowshon Moreno will have his arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this week.
Moreno’s procedure will likely sideline the veteran tailback at least a month, which would likely make him available to play at some point during the exhibition season.
The Dolphins aren’t as fortunate with Pouncey’s timetable. According to a source, Pouncey, the Dolphins' starting center for the past three seasons, will likely sideline three months.
If Pouncey doesn't come back sooner than expected, he'll expected to return to the practice field in late September, possibly in time for the Sept. 21 home game against the Chiefs, or the Sept. 28 game against the Raiders in London.
The former University of Florida standout's status for the season opener was uncertain because of his involvement with the bullying scandal that side-swiped the Dolphins' 2013 season.
Pouncey, Richie Incognito and John Jerry were named by the Ted Wells report as the three individuals who created a difficult working environment for for former teammate Jonathan Martin, and a team trainer. Wells specifically labeled Pouncey as uncooperative in his report to the NFL.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Pouncey, Incognito and Jerry must undergo psychological evaluation before resuming their NFL careers. The NFL also hasn't ruled out possibly suspending the trio for a game or two. If Pouncey is sidelined by his injury the possible suspension would be irrelevant. However, he'd lose his paychecks for the games suspended.
Pouncey, who was named to his first Pro Bowl last season, sat out the first day of Miami's minicamp last week. But he participated in the final two practice sessions.
With Pouncey sidelined Sam Brenner's development as the backup center becomes critical. Brenner, an undrafted rookie from Utah, started five games at left guard last season. The Dolphins also have experienced college center Tyler Larsen, an undrafted rookie from Utah State, on the training camp roster.
But veteran Nate Garner filled in for Pouncey in the two games he was sidelined by an illness last season, and has started 19 games at various spots in his five seasons with the Dolphins.
Moreno’s procedure isn't expected to be invasive, a source claims. But the doctos won't know the extent of the damage until they begin the procedure.
Coincidentally, Moreno underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee following the conclusion of the 2012 season. During that operation Moreno reportedly had stem cells harvested from bone marrow in his pelvis and injected into his knee. The next season he rushed for a career-high 1,038 yards.
Moreno tore the ACL in his right knee at the end of the 2011 season, but this injury is not the same knee.
Moreno, whom the Dolphins signed to a one-year, $3 million contract this offseason, was expected to unseat Lamar Miller as the team's starting tailback, and serve as the all-purpose back the Dolphins didn't have last season.
If Moreno, who contributed 1,586 combined yards and scored 13 touchdowns as the Denver Broncos' starter, has the procedure done this week he'll likely be healthy enough to participate in Miami's exhibition season, which begin on Aug. 7 with a road against the Atlanta Falcons.
Moreno, who turns 27 next month, has played in 60 NFL games in his five previous NFL seasons, starting 45 of them. He's only played in all 16 games twice in his NFL career.
Miller, a 2012 fourth-round pick, started 15 games last season, gained 709 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns on his 177 carries. Daniel Thomas, his backup, rushed for 1,312 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in his three seasons.
Former Gators standout Mike Gillislee is entering his second season. And former CFL standout Marcus Thigpen has spent the past two seasons working as Miami's return specialist, and a tailback who can be used as a pass catcher/slot receiver.