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Reggie Bush Injury: 3 Miami Dolphins Who Must Step Up

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:   Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins celebrayes a touchdown during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Gary DavenportNFL AnalystSeptember 24, 2012

Fans of the Miami Dolphins no doubt turned blue all across America on Sunday, holding their breath as they awaited word on the severity of the knee injury suffered by running back Reggie Bush in their Week 3 loss to the New York Jets.

However, those same fans are no doubt breathing a bit easier today, as if the tweet posted earlier today by the seventh-year veteran himself is any indication then his injury isn't serious.

 

Received some great news today! Praise the Lord!

— Reggie Bush (@reggie_bush) September 24, 2012

 

The 27-year-old, who has 302 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns so far this season, has no structural damage in the knee and could even be available for Sunday's game at Arizona according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

However, should the Dolphins decide to err on the side of caution and play it safe this week against the Cardinals it will be up to the following trio of players to pick up the slack caused by the absence of Miami's offensive linchpin.

 

Daniel Thomas

When Bush went down against the Jets it was second-year pro Daniel Thomas who entered the game at running back, and Thomas led the team the rest of the way with 19 carries, scoring a touchdown on the ground as well.

However, Thomas managed only 69 yards on those 19 carries for a 3.6 yards per carry average, and for the second game in a row Thomas lost a fumble, a trend that Thomas told David Neal of The Miami Herald he knows he'll have to reverse if he's going to be getting more touches moving forward.

“Just trying to get extra yardage,” Thomas said. “I had it high and tight, but it was just a good play defensively.”

Thomas isn't an explosive ballcarrier and he absolutely has to stop putting the ball on the ground, but he's the most physical and experienced reserve running back the Dolphins have and will be counted on to handle most of the early down work.

 

Lamar Miller

Given their respective performances so far running the ball when afforded the opportunity many may be wondering why the Dolphins don't just turn the reins in the running game in Bush's absence over to rookie Lamar Miller, who has averaged six yards a pop on his 19 carries this year. According to what head coach Joe Philbin told The Herald it's simply a matter of the flow of the game.  


“We wanted to give Lamar an opportunity once we thought Reggie couldn’t play effectively,” Philbin said. “We have two guys, we think a lot of both and we think they’re both capable of playing. Some of it was dictated by situation, but some of it was spreading the carries around.”

However, according to Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post Miller blew an assignment Sunday and continues to struggle with his grasp of the playbook and pass protection, and until that changes the former Miami standout will likely be relegated to a change-of-pace role.

 

Ryan Tannehill

The last thing a rookie quarterback needs is to have additional pressure placed upon him while simultaneously losing his top offensive weapon, but that's exactly the situation that Ryan Tannehill now finds himself in.

The 24-year-old struggled in the loss to New York, completing only 44 percent of his passes for less than 200 yards while tossing his fourth interception of the season. However, wide receiver Davone Bess told Omar Kelly of The Sun-Sentinel that he's been impressed by Tannehill's progression as a professional.

"He looked good. He showed a lot of poise, commanded the huddle and we were there to make plays for him," Bess said. "He's getting better week in and week out. The more experience he gets the better off we'll be."

That progression will have to accelerate now, as without Bush in the backfield a Miami passing attack that presently ranks 25th in the National Football League is going to have to move the ball more effectively through the air.

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