Miami could be without 3-5 key starters this week, the most notable of which being Arian Foster. The talented but injury-prone running back is dealing with a groin injury, which caused him to miss the Week 3 win over the Browns.
On Monday, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase suggested Foster is not going to play Thursday night against the Bengals, leaving Miami without their top back. In his place, Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams will be getting the bulk of the running back snaps, though neither has done much to stand out over the first three games.
“It would be tough for us to get him back, probably, this week without practicing,” Gase said. “I’d rather be more cautious with him and get him for the duration than rush him back and lose him again.”
Gase also said that Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron is expected to be out on Thursday night due to a concussion. Cameron sustained the concussion on Sunday during the win over Cleveland, and it's close to impossible to clear the NFL's concussion protocol in just four days. He managed to catch seven passes on 10 targets for 55 yards over the first two games, but caught just one pass for five yards on one target vs the Browns in Week 3.
The biggest issue for Miami right now is at center. Anthony Steen started the first three games of the year here, but suffered a high ankle sprain against the Browns on Sunday. “He was trying to get back in the game,” Gase said of Steen. “We kind of held him out and thought it was best, as far as where we were at – at that time.”
We’ll see how Steen is listed on the injury reports this week. Steen has been starting because Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey has been out with a hip injury. It does not look like Pouncey will return this week after failing to practice so far during the regular season.
“If we threw him out there with no practice time, is that really the smartest thing for us to do? We will evaluate that with him,” Gase said. “Obviously, I know what Mike is going to say. Mike is going to say, 'I'm going.’ But we just need to make sure we talk to everybody – the doctors, the trainers, coaching staff – to make sure if we end up saying yes to it that we're all on the same page."
Elsewhere, offensive tackle Branden Albert suffered an ankle injury during Sunday's game. It happened on the final play of overtime, when Ajayi ran for a game-winning score, but during the play, Albert appeared to trip on someone and was hobbled after the play. He needed help getting off the field, though did say afterward he was fine.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins suffered a groin strain Sunday, but the severity of it is unknown. He was already limited in practice with a knee injury last week, so he looks iffy to play Thursday.
Linebacker Koa Misi suffered a neck injury during Sunday's game. While it does not appear to be serious, even a minor injury is hard to bounce back from and play on a short week, meaning Miami could be without two of their three starting linebackers.
This is quickly becoming a game the Bengals have no business losing. The Dolphins just have too many holes right now to win a road game against a team that should win nine-plus games this season.