While much of the injury news coming from the Dolphins on Monday was positive -- Chad Pennington out for the season notwithstanding -- very little was actually said about offensive tackle Jake Long's dislocated shoulder.
Several reports say he will play against the Bears Thursday night, and that is indeed quite possible. Everyone knows Long is a tough guy. But coach Tony Sparano was coy about giving specific information on the topic and didn't actually say Long would be in the lineup against the Chicago Bears.
“You got no shot. I know what you’re trying to do," Sparano said when asked whether Long could play, basically, with one arm. "I mean Jake’s a pretty tough guy; we’ll see where we go."
Where it is going is that Long's injury is serious. Make no mistake.
He will require surgery -- sooner or later -- because his shoulder will not heal 100 percent without it, according to a source. After the surgery, which is an arthroscopic procedure, Long will require 3-6 weeks of healing and another 3-6 weeks of rehabilitation to regain full strength.
My source declined to say exactly what the surgery would address. But I believe I can provide a clue. ESPN reported last night that Long "suffered damage to his labrum" when he dislocated his shoulder against Tennessee Sunday.
Long is hoping to hold off the surgery for later, with later being defined as after the season. But there is also a possibility Long might try to play with his injury and need to shut things down based on the fact, once again, he cannot be completely healthy without surgical correction.
Long is expected to try to make it through Miami's final seven games. He wants to give it a try even though it will put him at a disadvantage even if he wears a harness. But none of that guarantees he will be absolutely available for all those games.