The worst has become reality for Miami Dolphins safety Brandon Jones and his knee injury.

Coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday that Jones suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear during last Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending the season for the Dolphins’ leading tackler through seven games.

“I feel terrible, absolutely terrible for a guy who was playing at a very high level,” McDaniel said.

The team missed him in Wednesday morning’s film session.

“You could hear the pain with the team when the highlights came, because there were a ton of them,” the Dolphins coach added.

“Brandon has a huge impact on this defense,” quarterback Tua Taguveloa said. “Guys love being around this guy. He’s going to be missed, but to me he’s my guy.

Added outside linebacker Jaylen Phillips: “It’s scary. … His routine, his work ethic is unmatched on this team and probably in this league. It’s heartbreaking, of course, but we’re here for him. are taken

McDaniel’s latest update before Wednesday was that the Dolphins’ medical staff was still looking at things to confirm the severity of the knee ailment, but he seemed downbeat about the news to come.

McDaniel did not reveal what defensive plans Miami would make to replace Jones, who was officially placed on injured reserve Tuesday, in his strong safety role.

Veteran Eric Rowe seems like a likely candidate, but against the Steelers, McDaniel used a combination of special teams player Clayton Fejdelim and undrafted rookie Veron McKinley, the practice squad’s height for the game.

“Those packages change every week,” McDaniel said, noting that it has to do with using players’ strengths given the game conditions. “From an offensive standpoint, it makes it a lot harder because you’re going to see people move around.”

He offered that Rowe, who supported McDaniel’s explanation of defensive packages against Pittsburgh in the locker room on Wednesday, showed encouraging signs, however.

“Eric has had two of his best days of practice, especially within the last week and he’s been doing some real good things,” McDaniel said.

Since Fejdelium was one of five Dolphins who did not participate in Wednesday’s practice due to a back injury, Rowe was asked if he was preparing for scenarios in which he could play either free safety Jeon Holland. With the starter playing the snap or working in the package rotation.

“I’m preparing for it. We’ll see how this week goes with the game plan coaches come up with,” Rowe said.

“Taking something from his game, I want to fly like him,” said Rowe of Jones, who finished the season with 49 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. “It’s not easy, but I’ll try to replicate it.”

With the Dolphins’ ailing secondary, Nick Needham, also out for the season with an Achilles tear and fellow cornerback Byron Jones (leg) no imminent return from the physically unable to perform list, cornerbacks Kadir Kuhau ) and Kevin Crossan (knee) in the lineup. Both were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice.

“I’m optimistic about these guys, just knowing that we have a good collection of players on this team that I can trust no matter how bad they want to play,” McDaniel said. . “It killed them not to play in that last one, so I feel good about it, they’ll go out if it’s possible.”

Without Kohou and Crossen, Noah Igbinoghene and Justin Bethel stepped in as the second and third corners, playing alongside All-Pro Xavien Howard. Each had an interception in the win over the Steelers, with Agbenoghin sealing the victory in the final seconds.

Howard (groin), when seen in Wednesday’s practice, was listed as a non-participant, as was tight end Durham Smith (hamstring).

Miami also hopes to return fired defensive end Emmanuel Ogbe, the team’s sacked leader, in 2021 after he missed the Steelers game with a back injury.

“He’s doing better,” said McDaniel of Ogba, who was limited Wednesday.

“We already knew the game. [against the Vikings] That he had to have a big game in how we were going to operate as a defense. He rose to the challenge and was defeated in the process. But hopefully we’re going to get him back here on the field soon, optimistic about that. [this Sunday against the Detroit Lions]But just because I know where his game was, he was in a really good spot. And he wants to get back there as soon as possible. I know he will do whatever he wants to do.”

Left tackle Taron Armistead (foot) and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (veteran rest) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

In addition to Ogbe, Kuhau and Crossan, linebacker Jerome Baker (hip), tight end Tanner Conner (knee), tackle Greg Little (Achilles), defensive tackle Zach Seiler (hand/ankle), quarterback Skylar Thompson (right thumb) were limited. ), wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (shoulder) and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (hand).

For the Lions (1-5), running back DeAndre Swift, who has been out for the past month, participated in a full practice Wednesday as he looks to return. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (concussion protocol) was limited and is expected to be cleared in time for the game. Tight end TJ Hawkinson and defensive end Charles Harris were among the nine who missed Wednesday’s practice. …

The Dolphins signed offensive lineman Grant Hermans to the practice squad on Wednesday. The second-year player out of Purdue was on the New York Jets’ practice squad last season and, earlier this year, rejoined their active roster for three games, playing in two of them.

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