By Jeremiah Thermidor
Miami star running back Reggie Bush is finally back to his early-season form. The 27-year-old was noticeably absent from the injury reports this week. He’s fully recovered from a lingering knee injury he suffered against the Jets on September 23. He hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards in a single game since raking in 172 on the ground with two touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 2. But that may change this Sunday when the Jets play host to a Dolphins team which has had ample time to rest during their bye week.
Reserve running back Daniel Thomas is also returning to action this week after recovering from a concussion which kept him out of Miami’s matchup against the Rams. He has fully participated in every practice this week and is listed as probable for the game. Bush has rushed for 434 yards on 98 carries with three touchdowns this season while Thomas has gained 113 yards and 2 touchdowns through four games played this year. With both Bush and Thomas near full strength, the Jets’ rush defense will certainly have its hands full. The Jets are ranked near the bottom of the league at No. 31 in defending the run, giving up an average of 147.7 yards per game.
Miami cornerback Richard Marshall, however, has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with the same back injury which has kept him out the previous two contests. He suffered the injury during Miami’s Week 2 matchup against Oakland and he hasn’t been the same since. Third-year cornerback Nolan Carroll has stepped up in his absence. The 25-year-old is becoming more of an instinctive defender and is doing better at reading routes. With more game action, he’s taken his competitiveness up a notch. “He has played well. We feel like he is making progress,” Miami coach Joe Philbin said when asked this week if Carroll’s play has helped stem the loss of Marshall. “He’s one of those guys that we have talked about where you can watch the film and say there is some improvement there.”
Other players listed as probable on Miami’s injury report include safety Reshad Jones (heel), linebacker Koa Misi (hamstring), defensive end Cameron Wake (neck), and safety Jimmy Wilson (ankle). Wake seems to have injured his neck very recently, considering he practiced all week but was limited in practice on Friday with the neck issue. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious because the Dolphins can’t afford to not have their best pass rusher at 100 percent. Wake has been the heart of the defense this season and one of the most consistent players on Miami’s roster. He has totaled 22 tackles and leads the team with 6.5 sacks for a loss of 40 yards.
As for the Jets, they have three players listed as doubtful on the injury report which include defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis (knee), running back Bilal Powell (shoulder) and linebacker Bart Scott (toe). Those guys will likely not see any action this Sunday considering they’ve all missed practice this week. Scott, who has played in every game this season, has put up a streak of 119 straight NFL games played. That streak may, unfortunately, be broken this Sunday due to the seriousness of his injury which could keep him out for two to three weeks. He hyperextended his big toe in Week 3 when the Jets faced off against Miami. “It’s tough. It’s like losing a thumb on your hand. Everything you do comes off your big toe,” Scott said. If Scott doesn’t play, rookie Demario Davis is expected to start in his absence.
Jets’ players who are questionable for the game include tight end Jeff Cumberland (wrist), offensive lineman Nick Mangold (ankle), running back Joe McKnight (ankle), defensive lineman Sione Pouha (low back), and defensive back Eric Smith (knee). McKnight did not practice on Friday which has to concern the Jets, considering he’s been an intricate part of their ground game for the past several weeks. McKnight, who played against the Patriots in Week 7 while recovering from an ankle injury, told the Star-Ledger he expected to play this week. But this low back injury could definitely sideline him. The Jets, who are already shorthanded at running back, may end up utilizing backup quarterback Tim Tebow as a rusher and may play fourth-string tailback Jonathan Grimes who the Jets signed on September 27.
Offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse (knee), wide receiver Clyde Gates (knee), WR Jeremy Kerley (finger) defensive back LaRon Landry (heel), offensive lineman Brandon Moore (hip), linebacker Calvin Pace (shin), quarterback Mark Sanchez (low back), and offensive lineman Matt Slauson (knee) all practiced in full on Friday and are listed as probable on the injury report.
So, clearly the Dolphins have the advantage health wise over the Jets. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out this weekend. The New York Jets (3-4) will play host to the Miami Dolphins (3-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. You can watch full coverage of the game right here on CBS 4.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.