Injury issues mount for Dolphins WRs Grant, Wilson

NFL

DAVIE, Fla. (AP)Jakeem Grant’s 2019 season was great for 14 seconds.

That’s how long it took the Miami Dolphins receiver to return a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11.

Otherwise, this year has been an injury-hampered disappointment for Grant. The same is the case with teammate Albert Wilson, and the two explosive wideouts are hurt again.

Grant injured his ankle during Sunday’s 41-24 loss at Cleveland and wore a boot after the game, while Wilson was sidelined by a rib injury.

On Monday, coach Brian Flores said it was too early to say whether either receiver will play again this season, much less Sunday against Philadelphia.

Wilson was having a breakout year in 2018 when he suffered a serious, season-ending hip injury. A year later he still doesn’t appear fully recovered.

Grant also hasn’t been as dynamic as in 2018, when he returned three kicks for scores before suffering a season-ending calf injury last November. He has battled calf, hamstring and toe issues this year.

Flores declined to dwell on any disappointment regarding the limited contributions by Wilson and Grant this year.

“Injuries are part of the game,” Flores said. “We have to be able to adjust and move forward.”

Grant signed a $19.7 million, four-year contract in August. Wilson is under contract for $9.5 million next year.

WHAT’S WORKING

Despite the depleted receiving corps, the Dolphins’ passing game is their strength – or their least troublesome phase, at least. That’s partly because Mike Gesicki and DeVante Parker are trending upward.

Gesicki, a second-round pick in 2018, made his first career touchdown reception Sunday. In the past seven games, the tight end has 25 catches for 271 yards (a 10.8 average).

Parker had six catches at Cleveland to lead the team in receiving for the sixth time. The fifth-year pro is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The Dolphins have started eight offensive line combinations, and will likely keep looking. On Sunday their three running backs totaled 43 yards in 14 carries, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked four times.

Miami ranks last in the NFL in yards rushing and yards per carry.

“It’s something that we need to continue to try and figure out,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Dolphins also rank last with 46 sacks allowed.

STOCK UP

Third-year pro Davon Godchaux had a career-high seven tackles. His 46 tackles rank third among all NFL defensive tackles.

STOCK DOWN

Backup quarterback Josh Rosen stayed on the bench even after the Dolphins fell behind 28-0. He hasn’t thrown a pass since he lost the starting job in Week 6.

“Josh has improved on a weekly basis from a practice standpoint,” Flores said. “We’re seeing some growth and some development. If we feel like he gives us a good opportunity to win, we’ll stick him in there. If we feel like Fitz is the guy, then we’ll do that.”

INJURIES

The loss of Grant and Wilson left Miami with two healthy wideouts: DeVante Parker and Allen Hurns.

KEY NUMBER

18 – The Dolphins have been outscored by 183 points, most in the NFL. Only one loss has been closer than 10 points.

NEXT STEPS

With a weak schedule in the final four weeks, Sunday might be Miami’s last chance to play spoiler. The Dolphins play host to the Eagles (5-6), who are a game behind NFC East leader Dallas.

“We can’t make it to the playoffs,” Dolphins defensive end Charles Harris said. “My goal, and everyone else’s goal, is to stop whomever we play, to beat them and stop them from making it.”

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