sat inside the ’ practice facility watching Friday morning’s session with his left knee in a brace, and propped up on a chair.
There was a frown on his face, which obviously encapsulated his mood following Thursday’s setback, which could force Tannehill to have a surgical procedure he’s worked hard to avoid since December.
An MRI taken Thursday revealed Tannehill didn’t suffer further ligament damage to his left knee when he hyperextended it during practice earlier in the day, according to a source. But there is concern about the stability of the knee, and the Dolphins are seeking further medical opinions before deciding on a treatment plan.
As part of that, Tannehill will visit renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews in the coming days to determine whether he should undergo surgery.
Coach Adam Gase said Friday that there’s no timetable for that decision, and he acknowledged that season-ending surgery is an option to repair the partially torn anterior cruciate ligament that Tannehill suffered Dec. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
"We’re trying to make sure we have all the right information before we make a decision,” Gase said. “Nothing is off the table.”
It is possible Tannehill could spend the next month or so rehabilitating the knee, strengthening it with the goal of playing at some point this season. But there is concern that if he continues to play and practice on the knee, Tannehill could cause more damage to the ACL, which he opted to not have surgically repaired in the offseason, instead opting for stem-cell treatment.
Reconstructive ACL surgery generally sidelines an athlete for nine to 12 months.
“The ACL does not heal on its own, and even using stem cells it doesn’t fix it,” said Dr. Steven Gorin, an orthopedic surgeon from the institute of Sports Medicine and Orthopedics in North Miami. “An ACL injury is going to have to be fixed appropriately, and with a significant amount of rehab.
Until it is, Tannehill’s ACL could become a full tear at any time.
“We can’t test for a guy rolling out and planting awkwardly,” Gorin said. “Ultimately, this could happen again. He’ll probably need to have the ACL [surgery] done if this continues to happen.”
With Tannehill sidelined, Gase said will serve as Miami’s starter, but he added a “right now” to that statement.
A source confirmed to the Sun Sentinel that veteran quarterback Jay Cutler is in shape and would be interested in playing for the Dolphins if offered the starting job. Cutler, 34, has a close relationship with Gase stemming from their one season together in Chicago in 2015.
The Dolphins have reached out to Cutler, among other veterans, as they consider their options, the . Cutler, who has an 85.7 career passer rating, was hired to work as a broadcaster for Fox this season after his release by the Bears.
The prospect of having to guarantee Cutler a starting role to sign him could ruffle some feathers inside the Dolphins locker room, where players have rallied behind Moore, who owns a 15-13 regular season record as a starter, and has been with the franchise since 2011.
“I’ve gotten to play with a lot of these guys,” Moore said of his teammates. “We’re just focused now on just getting better — all of us, whoever’s in there, getting better together and moving forward.”
Moore has been sharp in his two practices with the starters, and Saturday’s 11 a.m. scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium could sway some of the decision-makers if he performs well.
Former starter , whose political advocacy has led to teams shying away from signing him this offseason, and , who struggled with injuries for the past few seasons, are among the other experienced free agent quarterbacks.
Asked Friday morning about his plan to supplement the position, Gase said: “I haven’t really got there yet. Yesterday was a tough day, [with Ryan] going through that. Seeing how hard he worked to be back out there and go through the spring, a lot of the things that he did to make sure that everything was good and he felt great, and it caught him off guard a little bit. Just seeing him like that, that was tough.”
Tannehill, who has been wearing a knee brace during practices, looked athletic and mobile all spring and summer. He hyperextended the left knee during Thursday’s first 11-on-11 session, scrambling to the right before the knee buckled.
Tannehill completed 261 of 389 passes for 2,995 yards last season, with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, before missing the final three regular-season games and the wild-card playoff game against Pittsburgh. He had a career-best passer rating of 93.5 and a career-best completion percent of 67.1 in his first year under Gase.
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