As if dealing with a severely damaged ankle wasn’t terrible enough, Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill appears to have sustained another injury in Sunday’s 21-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Hill, who will return to Kansas City for the first time since being traded to Miami in the 2022 offseason, is nursing a quadriceps injury that would have limited his practice participation if the Dolphins had started the team’s on-field work for Saturday’s playoff game against the reigning champions—he was listed as limited on the first injury report of the week based on estimates.
Hill missed the Dec. 17 win over the New York Jets due to a left ankle injury sustained the previous week, and he’s played through the pain the past three games, contributing 22 receptions for 262 yards and one touchdown in Miami’s victory over the Dallas Cowboys, as well as losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills.
The Dolphins have relied on Hill, who has 1,799 yards and 13 touchdowns on 119 catches this season, to act as the team’s key playmaker, and the hope is that his quadriceps injury does not slow him down further. Especially since Jaylen Waddle’s status for the game is unknown due to a high ankle strain that has prevented him from playing for the past two weeks.
What is Waddle’s current status?
Waddle, who took part in last Friday’s practice, was classified as restricted on Miami’s projected practice report for Tuesday, when players were given the day off. The Dolphins will conduct a walk-through on Wednesday, a full-scale practice on Thursday, and another walk-through on Friday before departing for Kansas City. Another item of concern on the Dolphins’ injury report was the “did not practice” status for the team’s two starting safeties.
Jevon Holland, who played his second game Sunday after recovering from two MCL sprains, would have been unable to practice due to knee injuries. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel revealed that Miami’s medical team expects to change their strategy with Holland, who was limited to 27 defensive snaps against the Bills due to ongoing pain. DeShon Elliott would have been held out of Tuesday’s practice due to a calf injury sustained while warming up for Sunday’s Bills game. Elliott played 72 defensive snaps against Buffalo, fulfilling his normal role.
Are dolphin tailbacks getting healthier?
Tailback Raheem Mostert, who has missed the last two games due to ankle and knee injuries, would also have been limited, indicating that the team’s leading rusher may play Saturday. Mostert, who rushed for 1,012 yards on 209 runs and scored 21 touchdowns this season, has been limited to one practice per week for the past month. His participation in Thursday’s practice is a good indication that he will play against the Chiefs.
His substitute, De’Von Achane, was also expected to be limited on Tuesday due to a toe and rib ailment. Achane has filled in brilliantly for Mostert over the last two games, gaining 163 running yards and scoring a touchdown on 24 carries. He completed 2023 with 800 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 103 carries. That equates to 7.8 yards per attempt, the best by a tailback in an NFL season with at least 100 carries.
The offensive line is working through injuries.
Center Liam Eichenberg’s practice participation would have been limited due to the calf and ankle injuries he has been nursing for the previous month. Eichenberg normally has little activity throughout the week, but he begins the game. Terron Armstead, who has been dealing with knee, ankle, and back injuries for most of the season, would have missed Tuesday’s practice.
But Armstead rarely attends the first practice of the week. One name that did not appear on the injury list was Robert Hunt, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time in a month against the Bills. Hunt played all 52 offensive snaps as Miami’s starting right guard, and his absence from the injury report suggests that the hamstring ailment he suffered twice this season may now be behind him.
Chiefs have challenges, too.
Kansas City’s practice report listed two players who did not participate: left tackle Wanya Morris (concussion) and receiver Justyn Ross (hamstring). Donovan Smith (neck), L’Jarius Sneed (calf), and Kadarius Toney (hio/ankle) were all limited.
Linebacker Nick Bolton (wrist), safety Deon Bush (elbow), safety Chamarri Cooper (shoulder), tight end Noah Gray, tailback Isaiah Pacheco (shoulder), receiver Rashee Rice (hamstring), offensive tackle Ja’waan Taylor (knee), receiver Marquez Valdes-Scanting (oblique), and cornerback Jaylen Watson (calf) were all listed as practicing fully.