DAVIE — The Dolphins have a training staff, a medical staff and a sports science staff.
They have gone through an entire training camp with as little tackling as humanly possible.
And still, the results from an injury perspective have been devastating.
You won’t see Ryan Tannehill, Raekwon McMillan or Tony Lippett this fall. With three preseason games still to play, the list of key players out for the year already is too lengthy.
It’s logical to ask if more can be done to minimize future risk. Coach Adam Gase, for one, wasn’t second-guessing himself this week when asked about those already lost.
“It’s just an unpredictable factor of the game,” he said. “A lot of the injuries we’re having are things that you can’t control.”
Critics would question whether the Tannehill case fits that profile.
After Tannehill was hurt late last season against Arizona, the decision was made to go with rehab over surgery. All spring and summer, everyone insisted he looked like the same old Tannehill until that morning when he came up lame on a non-contact play. It’s fairly obvious that every month surgery was delayed was a lost month in Tannehill’s career. But remember, the ultimate call is Tannehill’s, not the Dolphins’. It’s his knee. Besides, if he had surgery in December, he may have missed half this season anyway.
Next, McMillan blew out a knee, robbing the Dolphins of their second-round pick and a linebacker who could have helped their porous run defense.
Tuesday we learned that cornerback Lippett tore his Achilles, which means he’s racing the clock to be ready for light drills when the 2018 training camp arrives. One bad step, one bad landing, is all it takes.
“He jumped up and then came down,” Gase said of Lippett. “No one touched him. That was it.”
The Dolphins were only slightly more fortunate with Ted Larsen, who likely would have started at guard. Larsen tore a biceps and is expected to miss half the season.
To be fair to those charged with minimizing risk for the Dolphins, we’ll never know how many other injuries their work may have prevented. DeVante Parker, for one, no longer seems brittle.
Moving forward? Who’s to say how much will change — or needs to be changed? From the outside looking in, the reasonable expectation is that those inside the building continue to ask themselves that question.
“We haven’t had a ton of soft tissue injuries, which really that’s the biggest thing you’re preparing for,” Gase said. “A lot of our injuries have been ACLs, biceps, things that … it’s a part of football. It’s the worst part of it, but there’s nothing that you really can do to prevent it.
“You do everything you can physically in the weight room and try to prepare yourself and try to schedule practice right and not fatigue your guys to the point where their bodies are breaking down. But at the end of the day, training camp is meant to be hard. It’s meant to harden you up. It’s meant to get you in condition. So you’re not going to prevent everything.”
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