MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard left Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers with a groin injury — which isn’t great news for the four-time Pro Bowler if past is prologue.
Howard’s 2022 was derailed by groin injuries that never really went away until he was able to rest during the offseason.
Assuming Howard doesn’t go on injured reserve, his next extended break is at least three months off. Which means he might again have to tough out an injury that significantly limited his effectiveness a year ago.
Mike McDaniel on Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
Howard left Sunday’s game in the second half and did not return. He did, however, remain on the sidelines — which certainly is more encouraging than if he disappeared into the locker room.
After the game, Howard walked past assembled media members with a bit of a limp. But it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that if the Dolphins needed Howard to finish off the game, he could have.
Injury Update | Xavien Howard has a groin injury and is questionable to return.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 15, 2023
“You know, I think he was working through that,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game.
“I don’t have that much information. You know, I think, if the game was closer, you know, who knows? I know it is something that we’re going to have to evaluate. So, the relative severity of it is kind of up in the air. You guys know me; I like to acquire information before I insinuate. So, we’ll take a look at it tomorrow and see where we’re at from there.”
Howard’s injury left the Dolphins without their top two cornerbacks. Jalen Ramsey hasn’t practiced since damaging his meniscus the first week of training camp but could return soon. (More on that in a moment.)
After Howard left the game, the Dolphins were left with Eli Apple, Kader Kohou, and Parry Nickerson as their top three corners.
In the game’s final minutes, rookie Cam Smith saw the field with the Dolphins’ defense for the first time.
The Dolphins’ pass defense played well even without Howard, holding Bryce Young to 217 passing yards on 38 attempts Sunday.
Return of Jalen Ramsey?
Meanwhile, McDaniel would neither confirm nor deny the NFL Network report that Ramsey could return to practice as early as this week.
“I think he’s doing great, guys, and, you know, I guess you’ll have to tune in weekly on Wednesdays to see whenever things take the next step, weekly,” McDaniel said.
“So when is that? It’s on a Wednesday. What Wednesday will it be? I’m not just being annoying with timelines. I’m trying to be real with, you know, I think it’s getting ahead of yourself to, you know, especially in situations like this, to all of a sudden jump ahead, you know, a couple of months, a couple of weeks, whatever the timeline is. But, you know, when he’s ready to go, he’ll be a loud voice in my ear.”
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