DAVIE—This is typically how injury discussions go in the NFL: the player brushes off whatever they’re playing through during the season, but afterward they’re willing to be a little more open.
That’s exactly how Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills handled the right hand injury that affected him for most of the season. After coyly saying he wasn’t even hurt at the time, he admitted today he played through a torn tendon in one of his fingers.
“It’s just part of the thing where you just start playing through the pain a little bit,” he said. “You guys saw it in practice, where I didn’t catch balls one of those weeks and it was just trying to get through the week and make it to the game. Regardless of what’s going on, I’m always going to try to be out there for Sundays. It’s fine.”
The good news for the Dolphins is Stills will not need surgery on his hand this offseason. The rest will be enough for it to fully heal.
The week leading up to Miami’s Week 4 game against the Saints, he was unable to catch passes in practice. The quarterbacks would either pretend to throw him a ball or toss him a tennis ball when he ran routes.
Credit Stills for putting up an impressive season in spite of the issue. He was second on the team in catches (58), yards receiving (847) and six touchdowns. His 14.6 yards per catch ranked 22nd in the NFL.
“We’re dying for guys who you can say ‘Hey, do it like him. Work like him. Act like him,’” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said late in the season. “That’s what we’re dying for leadership-wise offensively… Just some guy where you say, ‘Hey, do you want to get better? Watch Kenny Stills. Watch how he works. Watch how he takes care of his body. Watch what he does on off days. Watch what he does after practice. Watch him during practice.’
“He’s becoming that kind of guy, so that’s been great. It’s been fun to watch, and he’s turning into a really, really fine receiver.”
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