The Miami Dolphins have placed Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jake Long on the Active/Physically-Unable-to-Perform list, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Despite playing in all 16 games and earning his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection, the former first-overall pick dealt with knee and shoulder injuries in 2010, and participated on the Dolphins' players-only workouts during the lockout this offseason.
With Long out, players like Lydon Murtha, Matt Kopa and James Marten will probably see time at left tackle in training camp. Obviously, the Dolphins are hoping Long—who hasn't missed a game in his three-year career—won't miss any extended time, as they lack a suitable replacement on their roster.
But there's no reason to panic here. This is simply a procedural move to allow the team to place Long on the Reserve/PUP list to open the regular season if he were to suffer any kind of setback.
To be eligible for the Reserve/PUP list, players must be placed on the list before training camp begins. On the Active/PUP, Long still counts against the team's active roster and salary cap, and can participate in conditioning drills but not any football drills.
When deemed healthy, Long can be activated at any time and return to the practice field between now and the regular season. However, if he is moved to the Reserve/PUP list to begin the regular season, he will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the season.
So, as I said, this is not a real cause for concern. Long can be activated literally any day and could theoretically be back tomorrow. This move is not an indication that he won't be healthy for the regular season, but rather just the Dolphins covering their bases since he was dinged up at the start of camp.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.