By Abe Gutierrez
Looking to improve their road record to 3-3 on the 2016 NFL season, the (7-4) Miami Dolphins travel to the Charm City for a pivotal Week 13 date with the (6-5) Baltimore Ravens. Going up against one of the best defensive fronts in pro football with a healthy offensive line could go a long way in Miami’s chances of extending their win streak to seven games.
However, if the Dolphins’ NFL Week 13 injury report is any indication, protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and opening lanes for running back Jay Ajayi to burst through could be a concern. That’s because out of the 10 players listed in this week’s report, almost half belong to the Fins’ banged up offensive line unit.
Mike Pouncey Ruled Out
Those waiting to see one of the best centers in football make his return to the field will have to wait. According to head coach Adam Gase, Mike Pouncey’s injured hip kept him out of yet another week of practice, and thus, the three-time Pro Bowler will not play on Sunday.
“He has really invested himself into figuring out, ‘How can I get in a situation where I’m out there for 16 weeks?’” said Miami’s first-year head coach about Pouncey. “I think that’s really his mindset right now. … We need him.”
Adam Gase optimistic about Albert, Bushrod and Tunsil’s Return
Aside from Pouncey, the Dolphins’ report also indicates that there are three tackles nursing injuries this week. Branden Albert (wrist), Jermon Bushrod (calf) and Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) were all limited in this week’s practice, but Gase is confident he will have this key trio available to try and keep the Ravens’ “D” out of Miami’s backfield.
All three players were limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but Albert, Bushrod and Tunsil were able to take 100 percent of the snaps on Friday, which is an encouraging sign for Fins fans.
“Obviously this is one of the top defenses in the league,” Gase added. “Any time you can get your starters out there and competing against these guys, that’s critical for us as far as havingccess. When we were moving the ball pretty good, we had all five of those guys out there, and it makes life fairly simple. You’ve got veterans and talented players, and when you start shuffling everybody around, that chemistry kind of goes away, and you’re trying to get that going as quick as possible. This will be nice. The more guys we can get back, the better.”
DeVante Parker unable to practice
The other key offensive player listed in this week’s injury report is surging wide receiver DeVante Parker, who did not practice due to a back injury. The second-year man out of Louisville has become one of Tannehill’s go-to targets, and thus, he understands the importance of being on the field on gameday.
“[DeVante Parker] is really trying to get back,” Gase said of Miami’s second-leading receiver. “He doesn’t want to let his teammates down, for sure.”
Concerns over Kiko Alonso’s hammy
On the opposite side of the pigskin, it’s going to take a strong defensive effort for the Dolphins to keep their win streak and playoff hopes alive. Therefore, there are some concerns regarding the health status of middle linebacker Kiko Alonso. The team leader in tackles (90) and interceptions (2) is dealing with a hamstring injury that appears to have gotten worse, and then better, overnight.
After making headlines for his massive hit on controversial 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Alonso participated in full team practices on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday, before getting back into full practices on Friday afternoon. The fourth-year man out of Oregon is listed as questionable, and if he’s unable to go, Fins fans can expect Mike Hull and Zach Vigil to get more reps on gameday.
Miami Dolphins (NFL Week 13) Injury Report & Game Statuses
- (DT) Earl Mitchell (Back) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (LB) Jelani Jenkins (Knee) — Did Not Participate In Practice
- (LB) Kiko Alonso (Hamstring) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (RB) Kenyan Drake (Knee) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (T) Branden Albert (Wrist) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (T) Jermon Bushrod (Calf) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (T) Laremy Tunsil (Shoulder) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (WR) DeVante Parker (Back) –Did Not Participate In Practice
- (C) Xavien Howard (Knee) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (C) Mike Pouncey (Hip) –Did Not Participate In Practice