Miami Dolphins’ Michael Thomas doubtful for Bills – and uncertain for final two games

The Dolphins’ Michael Thomas is doubtful for Sunday’s game in Buffalo. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

DAVIE — There can be no mistaking Michael Thomas’ value to the Dolphins. He’s their special teams captain, he helped seal Monday’s victory over the Patriots and, according to special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, he leads the NFL in special teams tackles the past four years.

But how much he’ll be able to offer the Dolphins in their stretch run remains up in the air.

For the first time last Monday night, Thomas played with a brace on his right knee, which he injured Nov. 5 against Oakland. He has quietly played despite the injury in five games since. His appearance against the Patriots came despite not practicing the week prior, but he nonetheless recovered New England’s last-gasp onside kick to clinch the 27-20 victory.

So when Thomas didn’t practice this week, no alarm bells went off.

But on Friday’s injury report, Thomas was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Buffalo, indicating a trend in the wrong direction (he was questionable for the Patriots game).

Thomas’ injured posterior cruciate ligament does not require surgery. With the brace, he was able to run at or close to full speed, although decelerating with PCL injuries can be painful.

After the Buffalo game, the Dolphins have only a trip to Kansas City and a home game against the Bills on their regular-season schedule, and it’s unclear if Thomas would be able to make it back for those games or if the team might shut him down.

Another consideration is what’s best for Thomas himself in the long term, because he’ll become a free agent after this season.

“I’m not going to talk about the injury, but as a competitor, it’s hard to shut yourself down,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to accept that instead of fighting through something, it’s best for me to just rest. It’s hard to wrap your head around the words ‘just rest’ when everybody’s fighting.”

The Dolphins are hoping this is the year Thomas is named to his first Pro Bowl as a special teams contributor. ESPN’s calculations indicate that his fans stuffed the ballot box by retweeting votes in his favor at one of the highest rates of any player in the league. Question is, if Thomas is chosen, would he be able to appear in the Jan. 28 game in Orlando?

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Michael Thomas had an instant to make a key decision vs. Pats. He got it right

Sunday’s Bills game a reminder that Miami’s schedule didn’t have to be this way

[When Adam Gase gets upset with Jakeem Grant, he threatens to call his mom]

[Ndamukong Suh played every single snap in the win over New England]

[Dolphins’ Michael Thomas remains a special teams hero]

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