Dolphins starting quarterback Chad Pennington, making his first start at quarterback in over a year after suffering a shoulder injury in 2009, suffered a severe right shoulder injury that likely has ended his season prematurely.
The injury happened on the first play from scrimmage for the Dolphins offense versus Tennessee.
After being hit but not driven to the ground on the play, Pennington stayed in the game one more play. In the huddle, one Dolphins player said, Pennington was asking teammates to pull on his shoulder and pop it back into place.
After the second play, he realized he could not continue.
Pennington has had three right shoulder surgeries. While the Dolphins did not rule anything in or out for him, it seems clear the team is making plans to go on without him. Pennington did not speak after the game, but rather expects to talk to the media in the next few days.
"He doesn't want to be a distraction," a team spokesman said.
"For him to have another shoulder problem, it's tough," teammate and second-stringer Chad Henne said.
Henne came into the game on Miami's third offensive play. And he went out of the game in the third quarter when someone rolled his left knee and the knee cap was somehow twisted with great force.
"I have to get an MRI at 6:30 and we'll see what happens from there," Henne said. "It doesn't feel good. But for me, if I can stand and I can run on it, I'm going to be playing. So whatever happens, we'll see.
"It didn't feel good enough to come back. But I'm not going to be one to baby my knee. If I can be in there, I'll be in there."
So where does that leave third-stringer Tyler Thigpen?
Working toward the uncertainty of either starting or not against the Chicago Bears on Thursday.
"Phyiscally I'm ready to go, mentally I feel I'm ready to go," Thigpen said. "But it would be nice if I am named the starter this week due to injury to get the timing down with the guys.
"It's going to be extra long hours in the facility this week, but you have to be a professional. We have three days to get ready."