Further testing confirmed that Jaelan Phillips did indeed tear his Achilles tendon Friday night, Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Saturday, meaning Phillips is out for the season and will have a long recovery after reconstructive surgery.
But Achilles ruptures are no longer a career death sentence for pro athletes, and Phillips will have the best possible support and resources at his attention.
Among those apparently willing to help Phillips in his recovery? Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered the same injury on the same notorious MetLife Stadium playing surface just two months ago.
Will Aaron Rodgers Help Miami Dolphins LB Jaelan Phillips’ Achilles Recovery?
Rodgers has made a speedy recovery from the injury and has left open the possibility of playing again this season — which would be a previously unthinkable fast return to play.
And evidently, he’s willing to share what he’s learned with Phillips.
“I don’t know him personally, but I’ve heard great things about Aaron Rodgers and the type of human being he is,” McDaniel said. “I think he was working some channels to get in touch with Jaelan as of last night through a couple of people that have some relationships with him.
“[Rodgers] is a smart guy that’s not afraid to chase the most exotic science. Jaelan Phillips, he’s not one of those old-school, always-done-it-this-way type of guys. He would be open to whatever.”
Phillips has no chance to return this year, but an accelerated recovery process could up the odds that he’s ready for the start of the 2024 season, which is a little under 10 months off. Achilles recoveries often last a year.
McDaniel’s more immediate concern? Replacing Phillips’ production.
The third-year linebacker leads the team in sacks (6.5) and hurries (5), is second in tackles for loss (8) and pressures (15), and ranks fourth in quarterback hits (11).
McDaniel confirmed Saturday what most assumed: Phillips’ playing time will go to Andrew Van Ginkel (who already has logged 61.9% of the team’s defensive snaps) and Emmanuel Ogbah (21.3%). Both Van Ginkel and Ogbah have four sacks on the season.
“The players shape what that is exactly to a T, but without a shadow of doubt, it’s gonna be those two individuals that will have to step up,” McDaniel said, adding that off-ball linebacker David Long will also see his role increase. “… You don’t necessarily replace it, but it just gives different people opportunities, and you can spread that out to do your best to compensate for that production loss.”
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