Dolphins lose one of their best players as Xavien Howard goes on IR with knee injury

Chris Cwik

The hits keep coming for the Miami Dolphins. After blowing a 14-point lead Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dolphins got even worse news Tuesday. Cornerback Xavien Howard, one of the team’s best players, will be placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Howard, 26, left Monday’s 27-14 loss to the Steelers in the second quarter due to the injury. Earlier in the contest, Howard intercepted a pass that set up the Dolphins’ first score of the night. He blanketed Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the play.

Howard is not dealing with an ACL or MCL injury, according Rapoport, but the team is making the move anyway. Howard signed a five-year, $76.5 million extension with the team in the offseason, so the Dolphins are being cautious by putting Howard on injured reserve. While it’s easy to criticize the team for that decision, Howard did miss the team’s past two games with a knee issue.

The injury leaves the Dolphins without another one of their best players down the stretch. Most of those departures have been self inflicted, as the Dolphins have traded away most of their desirable players in exchange for draft picks. Howard may have also gone that route had he remained healthy all season.

At 0-7, it’s been a miserable year for the Dolphins already. While winning a game was going to be tough considering the amount of talent the team has already unloaded, losing Howard is a big blow.

Dolphins fans will have to hope things are better next year, when Howard will presumably take the field with three first-round picks.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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