Reggie Bush Still Questionable, Both Dolphins and Cardinals Without Key Stars on Sunday
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By Jeremiah Thermidor
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush is one of the most resilient and determined players in the NFL. Just days after suffering a knee injury, which could have forced him to sit out for a minimum of two weeks, Bush may now see action in Sunday’s matchup versus the Cardinals.
Bush suffered the injury in last weekend’s loss to the Jets. He left the game in the second quarter and didn’t return. An MRI revealed his knee injury wasn’t severe, and as soon as he heard the news he returned to practice, albeit in a limited role. He’s been working hard hoping to get back to 100 percent. However, it’s not clear whether he’s going to return to form as soon as he’d desire.
The 27-year-old was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. But he will most likely get a few touches early, in order for the Dolphins coaching staff to get a sense on how much they should use him throughout the contest.
Bush has rushed for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns on 50 attempts this season. He’s also caught 10 passes for 72 yards. While Bush works to get back to playing at a high level, the Dolphins will lean on backup running backs Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, each of whom have scored rushing touchdowns this year. Full back Jorvorskie Lane and tailback Marcus Thigpen also have touchdowns of their own.
This week, Miami head coach Joe Philbin talked about the depth and talent he has at the running back position. The numbers certainly prove it. Miami is 4th in the league in total rushing yards with 542, behind only the Chiefs, Redskins and the Bills.
Miami’s ground game will be important in Sunday’s matchup considering the Cardinals haven’t done so well at stopping the run. Arizona’s rushing defense is ranked 17th in the league, allowing an average of 106 yards per game.
Backup defensive tackle Tony McDaniel is listed as doubtful for the contest. He’s missed the bulk of the season with a knee injury, but his absence hasn’t been noticeable, considering the success of Miami’s front seven and the backups who have played. In fact, the Dolphins have the third best rushing defense in the league, limiting opponents to 66.3 rushing yards per game.
Dolphins receiver Marlon Moore may be missing his second game of the season with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice and is listed as doubtful to play. It was a good sign he was able to get in some reps this week, but seeing action in the game is just as important, considering he hasn’t caught a pass all year.
Linebacker Austin Spitler hasn’t practiced all week, and he’s also listed as doubtful. He’s the second-string option behind Karlos Dansby at middle linebacker. He has just one tackle in 3 games this year. So, his absence wouldn’t be a huge blow to the defense.
Starting cornerback Richard Marshall is listed as questionable. Although he’ll likely play, not having him at his best is a concern since he’s probably the team’s second-best defensive back behind Sean Smith. Marshall nabbed his 18th-career interception last Sunday.
Turning to the Cardinals, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (Hamstring), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (Hip) and tight ends Jim Dray (Knee) & Todd Heap (Knee) are all listed as doubtful for the game. The loss of Dockett would be a major loss for the Cards. Dockett is an intricate part of Arizona’s pass defense, which is one of the best in the league. Stephens-Howling is Arizona’s second-best rusher behind Ryan Williams. So, the Cardinals would certainly need him. Heap is a second-string tight end and Dray is the fourth option. Their potential absence would hurt the Cardinals since Heap is one of their better blockers and Dray contributes a lot to special teams.
Arizona’s secondary is all banged up, with safeties Adrian Wilson (Ankle/Groin), Rashad Johnson (hamstring), James Sanders (Calf) and cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring) all listed as questionable for the game. Most of those guys will likely see action but it is concerning for the Cardinals not to have their most talented defensive backs at full strength.
Quarterback John Skelton (Ankle) and fullback Anthony Sherman (Hamstring) are also listed as questionable for the Cardinals. Skelton sat out the last two games and may return Sunday. Backup quarterback Kevin Kolb has done an excellent job in Skelton’s absence. So, the Cardinals have a tough decision to make on whether they will stick with Kolb or opt to allow Skelton to keep the starting job he earned in the preseason.
The Miami Dolphins (1-2) will visit the Arizona Cardinals (3-0) on Sunday at 4:05pm ET.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.