Dolphins’ Howard said he will play Sunday. And injury updates and change in the building
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard said his injured groin muscles are feeling better and he will play on Sunday against Minnesota (1 p.m., Fox).
“I feel way better,” he said Wednesday before practicing on a limited basis. “With groins and soft tissues, It’s all rest. Football is so hard to rest because you play every week.”
Howard, who missed Sunday’s game against the Jets, said he injured his left groin muscle in the Baltimore game “and I ended up playing with it” and then injured his right groin muscle with a minute left in the Bills game.
He played five days later, on a Thursday night, against Cincinnati but left for good in the third quarter after aggravating the injuries.
“It would have been better if we played on Sunday but it was Thursday,” he said. “I was trying to push and see how far I could go. It lasted a little bit but I’m not happy what I put on film.”
He said sitting out Sunday against the Jets “was probably the best for me. It’s hard [not to play] because I’m a competitor. I just wasn’t [happy] with what I put on film. I was trying to play hurt and be a superhero.”
Playing Sunday against Minnesota receiver Justin Jefferson - who leads the league in receiving yardage at 547 - is “a great challenge. I am going to be 100 percent and make sure I’m putting great things on film.”
MORE INJURY NEWS
Receiver Tyreek Hill, dealing with a foot injury, returned to practice fuly on Wednesday. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on his weekly WSVN-Fox 7 segment that it’s likely Hill will play on Sunday.
Terron Armstead hasn’t practiced in a month and had played through a toe injury for the first four games before leaving eight snaps into Sunday’s game after re-aggravating the injury.
He will continue to rest the injury this week, with the hope of playing on Sunday.
A visit with a New York City specialist did not reveal any type of injury that would jeopardize his season.
Besides Armstead, others who didn’t practice on Wednesday included Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater (both in concussion protocol) and Melvin Ingram (veteran’s rest).
Raheem Mostert also sat out with a knee issue, and Durham Smythe missed practice with a hamstring issue.
Austin Jackson (ankle), who is eligible to come off injured reserve, returned to practice.
LOCKER ROOM CHANGE
Hill and other captains decided to remove the ping-pong table from the team’s locker-room, which had one of the big non-football-related changes of the Mike McDaniel regime.
“That, to me, is leadership,” McDaniel said. “They wanted more time investment during the week on their jobs for Sunday. Instead of just saying it, they did something about it. That’s one of the reasons I have a lot of love for those guys.”
The Dolphins’ captains are Hill, Howard, Elandon Roberts, Jevon Holland, Armstead, Tagovailoa and Christian Wilkins.
As far as who made that decision, “I heard it was Reek for sure. Other than that, I don’t know,” running back Chase Edmonds said. “We didn’t know where it went or who was behind it. It was a good call by them. That’s why we elected them captains. Just focusing more and playing to our standards.”
Safety Eric Rowe said players were surprised when they entered the locker room and saw the tables missing.
“We kind of came in and it was gone and everyone was like, ‘Oh, damn! For real?’“ Rowe said.
“I don’t know who made the decision. [Players were] not like upset, but hurt. People like to play ping pong, another form of competitive play. I like playing ping pong. [But] I can see [the rationale], hey focus on your job instead of playing ping pong. After we sat and thought about it, it was like OK, I can see why.”
▪ Bridgewater has a good chance to clear concussion protocol and serve as Skylar Thompson’s backup on Sunday, with Tagovailoa already ruled out. And the Dolphins will consider elevating Reid Sinnett from the practice squad as insurance.
But if they lose all their quarterbacks to injuries, they need look no further than wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr., who would have taken over at quarterback against the Jets if Thompson had been injured during the game.
Wilson, who’s well suited to be used on trick plays, has a perfect 158.3 NFL passer rating. In his career, he’s 5 for 5 for 111 yards and a touchdown. He was a quarterback in high school in Memphis and threw a 61-yard TD pass at Boise State.
Has Wilson lobbied McDaniel to call any passing plays for him?
“I haven’t asked for any of the ones I’ve gotten in the past, so I’m not going to start asking now,” he said. “When they’re called, I’m going to complete them. The arm is natural. It comes out daily. I don’t work on throwing. When it happens, it’s always going to be able to spin it.”
Wilson said he knew he was the emergency quarterback on Sunday and nobody needed to remind him.