Dolphins activate cornerback Nik Needham off PUP, place O-lineman Isaiah Wynn on IR

The injury-plagued Miami Dolphins get one player back from injury, but lose a key starter at the same time.

The Dolphins announced Tuesday they activated cornerback Nik Needham off the physically-unable-to-perform list but placed starting left guard Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve.

Wynn left Sunday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with a quadriceps injury. Coach Mike McDaniel said Monday the offensive lineman would miss weeks with the ailment.

Wynn, a former tackle with the New England Patriots, had started all seven games for the Dolphins this season in a transition to left guard.

Backup guard Lester Cotton entered for Wynn to finish out the game in Philadelphia. He and fellow reserve offensive lineman Robert Jones will likely compete for those duties moving forward. Jones was activated off injured reserve two games ago after recovering from a preseason knee ailment.

Needham was up against the end of his 21-day window since first being designated to return, signaling a return to practice, Oct. 4. Needham has been recovering from his torn Achilles that cut his 2022 season short.

A former undrafted free agent who first made Miami’s roster in 2019 and been a solid contributor since, Needham brings depth at cornerback for a secondary that could also soon have star offseason acquisition Jalen Ramsey make his Dolphins debut from a meniscus tear in his left knee and get Xavien Howard back from a groin injury after missing the Eagles game.

Placing Wynn on IR means he is now out a minimum of four weeks.

The Dolphins are also set to push the limit of how many players they can designate to return from either IR or the non-football injury list.

NFL teams are allowed a maximum of eight such moves, with the players’ return to practice marking when they count against the number. They have already brought Jones, Ramsey and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. back. Needham, coming off PUP, does not count against the figure, so Miami has used three thus far.

Left tackle Terron Armstead and running back De’Von Achane are must-haves once they return to health. That makes five. If Wynn is able to make a return later in the season, the starting guard who has played well at the new position would be valued for that sixth spot. Wide receivers River Cracraft (shoulder) and Erik Ezukanma (neck) are on IR and NFI lists, respectively, while running back Chris Brooks is on IR for knee and ankle injuries.

Decisions could have to be made on whether to designate those three to return once they’re ready as the Dolphins could likely need some flexibility in case they have future injuries that will take several weeks but won’t be season-ending.