The Miami Dolphins will be without all three of their starting linebackers on Sunday when they play the Buffalo Bills, as Koa Misi, nursing an ankle injury, and Phillip Wheeler, still nursing a thumb injury, will join Dannell Ellerbe, who is out for the year, on the sideline.
A source familiar with the status of the players told The Herald Thursday morning that Wheeler and Misi could return to the lineup as soon as the Sept. 21 game against Kansas City.
The only issue with that is the Dolphins play the Bills before then. The Bills rushed for 193 yards in a victory over Chicago last week and that makes them the NFL's No. 3-ranked rushing team.
The Dolphins will have to slow Buffalo's rushing stampede with a linebacker corps that consists entirely of reserve players.
Jason Trusnik is expected to play in place of Misi at middle linebacker.
Jelani Jenkins and Jonathan Freeny are expected to man the outside linebacker spots.
There is also a chance the Dolphins could integrate recently acquired Kelvin Sheppard into the mix. At the very least, the former Bills and Colts linebacker is expected to be active for the game and probably play on special teams only six days after joining the team.
The Dolphins linebacker corps is something of a M.A.S.H unit right now.
Rookie Jordan Tripp (chest) has already been ruled out by the team. Fellow rookie Chris McCain, who had a blocked punt and a sack in his NFL debut, has missed the past two days of practice dealing with an illness and a hip injury.
McCain is expected to be available on Sunday, however, barring some sort of physical setback.
[BLOG NOTE: Today is Sept. 11. I want to take a moment to honor and memorialize the passing of those who died during the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001. On a personal note, I also wish to memorialize the passing of my mom on 9-11-2009. Love you, Mami.]