DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Linebacker Koa Misi’s season with the Miami Dolphins ended two days before the start of training camp.
A starter since his rookie season in 2010, Misi was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after he failed to receive medical clearance. His 2016 season was limited to three games because of a neck injury that could be career ending.
The Dolphins also signed cornerback Alterraun Verner, an eight-year veteran who started 70 games for the Titans and Buccaneers. He is expected to compete for playing time at slot cornerback.
The loss of Misi leaves Miami even thinner at linebacker, perhaps the team’s most worrisome area. Injuries ravaged the linebacker corps last season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that have played — I know that, because everybody had to play last year,” coach Adam Gase said before the loss of Misi was announced. “I feel better probably than a lot of people do outside of our building. I like our guys. I saw a lot of good things in the spring. I feel like we look a lot different than we did last year, when you get to the twos and threes, with the competition.”
Another question mark is center, where Mike Pouncey’s participation in camp is expected to be extremely limited.
Pouncey is a three-time Pro Bowler even though he hasn’t played a full season since 2012. Despite little practice time last year, he was so effective in the five games he played that Gase says he would be comfortable starting Pouncey in the season opener even if he sits out all of camp.
Pouncey, however, gets restless on the sideline.
“He wants to practice and go through his routine for training camp,” Gase said. “I was amazed by the fact that he missed as much time as he did last year during the season and walks right back in and plays at an elite level. I’m always going to listen to him. It’s his body and his mindset. I trust what he tells me.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill returned during offseason workouts from a knee injury that ended his 2016 season, and he’ll take part in camp with no restrictions.
Pouncey has had surgery on both hips. He broke his left hip during the 2016 preseason, came back for Games 5 through 9 and aggravated the injury, ending his season. He conceded he probably returned too quickly after the preseason injury.
Despite uncertainty about his involvement in training camp, Pouncey’s health and strength have improved since minicamp, and he’s running now, Gase said.
“Our guys have a good plan of how he should work,” Gase said. “He has done a really good job, especially since the last injury, of following to a T how we should do things. He has done exactly what the doctors have asked him to do. That’s age, that’s experience in the league of going through this a couple of times. He has gotten to the point where he’s just going to listen to the people that are telling him what’s best for him. He’s done a great job of following that, and I think he’s seeing good results.”
Last season Pouncey wondered aloud how long he would be able to continue to play, but after the season said he expects to play several more years. While healthy, he paved the way for back-to-back 200-yard games by running back Jay Ajayi.
The Dolphins are also concerned about keeping the hard-running Ajayi healthy, and his carries in camp will be closely monitored.
“I’ll make sure I manage it right,” Gase said. “I know that seems to be a big concern. We have a good plan for him. We understand his running style. He does a good job of telling us where’s he’s at. If he starts to get banged up a little bit, he’ll tell us.”
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