DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill’s left knee injury is less serious than first feared and no surgery is expected, but it remains unlikely he’ll play again this season for the Miami Dolphins.
The quarterback’s injury was diagnosed as a sprained ACL and MCL, coach Adam Gase said Monday.
When Tannehill was hurt Sunday against Arizona, the Dolphins (8-5) feared a torn ACL that would require surgery and a long, arduous rehabilitation.
Despite the surprising news, Matt Moore is expected to make his first start since 2011 on Saturday against the New York Jets.
Tannehill limped out of Sunday’s win in the third quarter after being hit by defensive tackle Calais Campbell as he released a completion. Miami led 21-9 when Tannehill was hurt and won 26-23 on a last-second field goal.
The victory didn’t help the Dolphins’ glum mood. Tannehill was red-eyed on the sideline as the game ended and left the stadium on crutches.
But the Dolphins learned late Sunday he won’t need surgery.
“Better than what we thought,” Gase said. “I was happy for him. That’s a hard injury to come back from and rehab. It’s a long, long process.”
ACL surgery generally requires at least a nine-month recovery. Gase said the Dolphins don’t know how long Tannehill will be sidelined by the sprained knee, but it’s questionable whether he would be available even deep into the postseason.
While Tannehill was at the team complex Monday, Moore was not — his wife was having their third child. But he’ll soon be cramming as the new No. 1 quarterback.
After a slow start against Arizona, Moore led a late drive that ended with the game-winning field goal.
The Dolphins won for the seventh time in the past eight games and forged a tie with Denver in the race for the final AFC wild-card berth.
Only two Dolphins on the active roster have been with the team longer than Moore, a 10-year veteran who joined Miami in 2011. He has 25 starts but none since the Dolphins drafted the durable Tannehill, who started 77 consecutive games in his first five NFL seasons despite taking 213 sacks.
Moore has thrown 16 passes in the past four seasons, including five Sunday. He has a 13-12 record as a starter — giving him a career winning percentage better than Tannehill — but this week will be the first time Moore has started for a team with a winning record.
The new backup quarterback is expected to be rookie Brandon Doughty, a seventh-round draft pick from Western Kentucky who grew up near the Dolphins’ complex.
Tannehill likely finishes 2016 with career highs in passer rating (93.5), completion rate (67.1 percent) and yards per attempt (7.7).
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