By Abraham Gutierrez
A pair of teams looking to keep pace in the tight AFC Wild Card race will collide in frigid Orchard Park, as the (6-7) Miami Dolphins visit the (7-6) Buffalo Bills Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.READ MORE: Florida House To Take Up Transgender Athlete Ban
With so much on the line, injuries have been a hot topic of conversation for both clubs this week. To the delight of Bills fans, Buffalo announced that quarterback Tyrod Taylor will return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s win over Indianapolis due to a knee injury.
As for Miami, Adam Gase and his staff revealed that a total of 11 Dolphins players comprised the NFL Week 15 injury report. However, Fins fans should not be alarmed by that number, as all but one player are expected to be available.
Jermon Bushrod Will Not Play
After starting in the first 10 games of the season, guard Jermon Bushrod will miss his fourth straight contest. In his 11th season out of Towson, the 2-time Pro Bowler is dealing with a foot injury that will likely lead to being demoted in the team’s depth chart.
“I don’t know,” Bushrod said when asked if he would resume starting duties when healthy. “Things have been (going well), and that’s the tough part when you’re not in the lineup. That’s how other people get their opportunities, and you have to figure out what the coaching staff wants to do. If they feel like when I get back I can help out, that’s out of my pay-grade.
“Would I be comfortable with (coming off the bench)? I don’t know. I can’t answer that, because I’ve been a starter and played in this league for a long time. I’ve taken a backseat once, but I don’t know.”
Xavien Howard Listed As Questionable
Coming off back-to-back, two-interception games, there’s no one in the Miami locker hotter than cornerback Xavien Howard. That’s why when his name appeared in this week’s in jury report, Dolphins fans held their collective breaths awaiting Friday’s practice session.
Luckily, the second-year man out of Baylor is not only expected to play, but the reason why his name appeared in this week’s IR made immediate headlines.READ MORE: Florida Senate Committee Advances 'Anti-Riot' Measure
Speaking to the media this week, Howard revealed that he was battling the flu on the night that he picked off Patriots quarterback Tom Brady twice Monday night.
“Yeah, I was throwing up mostly like water,” he said when describing what life was like on the sidelines in between possessions. “And I took some Pedialite, so I was just throwing it up.”
Dolphins safety Walt Aikens detailed what it was like watching the whole thing unfold: “It was rough,” he said. “He was throwing up his guts. I thought he was going to die. It was kind of scary. I was in the splash zone. He balled out, though. Next time he gets sick, I’ll know not to care about him, because he’ll be all right for the game.”
In addition, defensive end Andre Branch (knee) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (ankle) are also listed as questionable. Branch did not participate in this week’s practice, while Phillips was a full participant.
Miami Dolphins NFL Week 15 Injury Report & Game Statuses (Final)
- (CB) Xavien Howard (Illness) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (DE) Andre Branch (Knee) –Did Not Participate In Practice
- (DT) Jordan Phillips (Ankle) –Full Participation in Practice
- (CB) Cordrea Tankersley (Ankle) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (QB) Matt Moore (Foot) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (RB) Damien Williams (Shoulder) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (S) Michael Thomas (Knee) –Did Not Participate In Practice
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- (G) Jermon Bushrod (Foot) –Limited Participation in Practice
No Game-Status Designation
- (C) Mike Pouncey (Hip) –Did Not Participate In Practice
- (DT) Ndamukong Suh (NIR) –Full Participation in Practice
- (TE) MarQueis Gray (Shoulder) –Full Participation in Practice