The Dolphins have many decisions to make along the offensive line and injuries are making those harder than usual.
On the same day coach Tony Sparano said he'd like to have his starting offensive line set by the end of Saturday's preseason game against Jacksonville, the coach also announced that guard Nate Garner has had surgery on the same foot he had surgery on in the offseason.
A source tells The Herald Garner will be out of action for at least eight weeks, meaning he will miss the start of the regular-season and may not be available until the Oct. 4 game against New England at the earliest.
Garner had been working at right tackle the first two weeks of camp but had made the expected move back to his more natural guard spot when he was injured last week.
That means the Dolphins must decide to either keep a roster spot open for the player who started eight games at left guard and right guard last season or use that spot while placing Garner on season-ending injured reserve.
The Garner injury isn't the only one along the offensive line the Dolphins are nursing. Right guard John Jerry was not able to complete practice Tuesday morning because of a right knee injury and the normally optimistic Sparano suggested the sutiation is a problem when he was asked if he is very concerned.
"No, not very concerned," he said. "I"m concerned though ... we tried to get him heated up today and he was good for a little while but then the thing just got sore on him."
Despite the injuries, Sparano wants to see the offensive line come together in time to find cohesion for the season-opener Sept. 12.
On Tuesday the first-team line was Vernon Carey at right tackle, Corey Procter at right guard, Joe Berger at center, Richie Incognito at left guard and Jake Long at left tackle.
Last week Sparano said he wanted to see one of the two centers -- Berger or Jake Grove -- begin to separate as they compete for the starting job. I asked if that is happening yet and the answer seems to be that the competition is tightening instead of becoming more clear.
"I think I've seen a little bit more separation one way or the other or the competition make itself more interesting since Jake has been back," Sparano said. "The game the other other was an average indicator with both of them, to be honest with you."
That means neither Berger nor Grove played up to potential or past performances. They have to get better.
It's not time to panic yet. But things could be better.
Running back Patrick Cobbs, and linebacker Tim Dobbins continued to practice this morning. Recreiver Greg Camarillo (groin) is getting better, according to Sparano.
AFTERNOON PRACTICE CLOSED
The Dolphins were scheduled to practice outside in front of fans this afternoon, but instead have moved the work inside the bubble so the practice is closed to the public.