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Team-organized kickball event shelves Sturgis; Dolphins, Canes, Marlins chatter; Wade/Dragic talk

BUZZ COLUMN

So how did Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis sustain a quadriceps injury to his non-kicking leg?

Oddly enough, during a team-organized kickball event, according to three sources.

The Dolphins decided to schedule a team-building activity following a recent practice and someone in a position of authority –-- it’s unclear if it was a coach or the strength/conditioning staff  --- decided on a game of kickball.

But that idea turned regrettable when Sturgis sustained a strained quad to his plant leg, an injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the team’s offseason practices, which run through June 18.

Sturgis will resume activity in two to three weeks and is optimistic about being ready for training camp, barring a setback.

The Dolphins and Sturgis’ agent, Paul Sheehy, declined to comment.

The Dolphins know they're going to get criticized for this and there is disappointment internally about this. So I'm not going to lampoon or pile on with criticism here for something that was regrettable but also could be considered something of a flukish injury.

That said, it would clearly be safer to have the players go to a movie or play arcade games at Dave and Busters, something Joe Philbin has done with his team in the past.

Ultimately, it won't be a big deal if Sturgis heals by the end of June, as everyone expects.

One other thought: Some fans voiced frustration with Sturgis on Twitter on Monday, but he’s certainly not to blame for this. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi has praised how hard Sturgis has worked this offseason.

This much is clear: The Dolphins need Sturgis to heal, win the job and deliver his best season, because even though his competition in camp, rookie Andrew Franks, has a strong leg and has made several 50-plus yard field goals in OTAs, Franks’ accuracy is erratic and he connected on just 37 of 56 field goals at RPI in New York. And the available veteran kickers (Shayne Graham, Jay Feeley) would be merely end-of-their-career stopgaps.

CHATTER

### The Dolphins are hoping to leave defenses scrambling and confused by moving receivers to different positions, something they finally have the personnel to do.

“It makes every play call a threat,” Jarvis Landry said.

For Landry, that means getting some snaps on the boundary --– something he covets.

Echoing a point that his agent, Demarius Bilbo, made earlier this offseason, Landry said this week: “I don't want to be limited to a slot player. I want to have the opportunity to do a lot of different things. The more I do that, the more I show coaches to trust me to put me out there.”

Said Bilbo: “He wants people to know he can be a guy who can go deep. He wants to make plays all over the field. He wants to prove people wrong.

“He feels he’s a No. 1 guy with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline gone. He has a chip on his shoulder. He still talks about the draft, can’t believe he was passed over by this many teams.”

### So what would happen in the worst-case scenario of Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng all leaving the Heat this summer? 

Miami then would have about $46 million committed to 10 players (add $1.3 million if Michael Beasley is retained) -- well below the $67 million cap but not nearly enough cap space to replace the quality lost. If either Wade or Dragic re-signs and the other two leave, the Heat would have practically nothing beyond exception-type money to replace two starters, which would be a major problem.

What’s more, the top 2015 unrestricted free agents play power-rotation positions where the Heat is set: Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap and Greg Monroe.

Top 2015 free agents among perimeter players: moody Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Wes Matthews and Lou Williams. Eric Gordon has a team option.

### If Wade leaves, how would that affect the Heat’s chances of retaining Dragic?

“We are monitoring closely what’s going on; Wade is a very important piece for Miami's future; he’s a superstar,” said one of Dragic’s two agents, Rade Filipovich, expressing optimism that the Heat will retain Wade. “Goran wants Wade to stay. But it's my opinion. I can’t answer for Goran. It’s not the focus for Goran.”

### Marlins reliever Carter Capps has been so impressive since his promotion from the minors (11 innings, 19 strikeouts, one run, five hits) that catcher J.T. Realmuto said several hitters, during at-bats, have marveled about his stuff. “Guys have said, ‘Wow: How am I supposed to hit that?’” Realmuto said.

And the Marlins love how A.J. Ramos has thrived in the closer role. Ramos (who now has 206 strikeouts and allowed just 116 hits in 179 2/3 career innings) said that during a game, “on a 3-2 count,” he will think about “how somebody said I wasn’t good enough… I always use that as motivation.”

The Marlins had been poking around for bullpen help but didn’t want to pay Rafael Soriano his $4 million asking price because he didn’t look ready to help anytime soon.

They now seem more comfortable with what they have, despite regression from Bryan Morris (batters hitting .333 off him) and recently-demoted Steve Cishek (.321).

“Our bullpen was among the league leaders to finish last season,” Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said. “The same guys that were in that pen last year and had success are back this year.”

### Amid Internet speculation that UM junior slugger David Thompson could return to Miami next season if he’s not drafted high enough to his liking next week, an associate said it’s still more likely he turns pro, though not certain.

“We’re hearing first five rounds,” his father, Ed Thompson, said of David’s draft range. “If he falls past the first 10 rounds, there’s a stronger possibility of him coming back. We will have to see how it plays out. It’s David’s decision.”

Thompson is hitting .340, leads the nation in RBI (85) and is tied for the lead nationally with 19 home runs.

### On a day when Seattle promoted one former UM linebacker (Dan Morgan) to director of pro personnel, another, Colin McCarthy, told our Susan Miller Degnan that he’s retiring.

Later Thursday, the free agent linebacker told The Tennessean that his persistent shoulder problems led him to this decision. He missed last season with a shoulder injury that required a fourth surgery and he failed a physical with the New England Patriots this spring. The Dolphins did not pursue him in their offseason linebacker search.

“Rather than coming back and doing something stupid and reinjuring it, I came to peace with basically hanging it up,'' said McCarthy, a fourth-round pick in 2011 who appeared in 36 games with 19 starts, all with Tennessee. "I was very fortunate to get four years in the NFL.

"There's a bunch of would've, could've and should've,'' he told The Tennessean.  "But injuries are a part of the game. And when I did play I gave it all I had and didn't take much consideration for my body, and I really think that is why the injuries came, the surgeries came."

Incidentally, a new report by Inside the League indicates McCarthy’s agent, South Florida-based Drew Rosenhaus, by far and away leads agents in NFL player clients with 95. Ranking second: Joel Segal with 53.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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