Dolphins lose 3 linebackers to long-term injury, don’t expect Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard to play Saturday vs. Chiefs

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Joined: Nov 2016

The Miami Dolphins are going into Kansas City hobbled on defense.

Head coach Mike Mike McDaniel announced to reporters Monday that three Dolphins linebackers are expected to miss the entirety of the postseason due to injuries and that Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard isn’t expected to suit up against the Chiefs in Saturday’s wild-card game.

Starting linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel injured his foot against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and isn’t expected to return during the playoffs. Starting linebacker Jerome Baker injured his wrist against the Bills, requiring surgery that’s expected to sideline him for the postseason. Backup linebacker Cameron Goode has a torn patella tendon and won’t return this season.

Howard hasn’t played since he left a Week 17 loss to the Ravens due to a foot injury. The two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler isn’t expected back by Saturday, per McDaniel. Miami was already playing without Pro Bowl pass rusher Bradley Chubb, who suffered a torn ACL against the Ravens.

Xavien Howard missed Sunday’s game against the Bills and isn’t expected back in time to face the Chiefs. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The good news for Miami is that McDaniel expects wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert to be ready for Saturday’s game. Both missed Sunday’s regular-season finale due to injuries.

The news as a whole is a tough break for a Dolphins team that lost a shot at the AFC’s No. 2 seed, which comes with two-plus potential home games in the postseason, with Sunday’s loss to the Bills. The Dolphins’ path to the Super Bowl now starts against the defending champion Chiefs in what’s projected to be frigid weather.

As of Monday’s forecast, temperatures in Kansas City on Saturday are expected to range from 16 degrees to -2 degrees Fahrenheit. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. local time, long after the sun goes down.

It’s a suboptimal forecast for a visiting Dolphins team with the league’s No. 1 offense and No. 1 passing attack accustomed to playing in South Florida. Miami’s defense will be shorthanded against a Patrick Mahomes-led offense that’s used to playing in less-than-ideal conditions.


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