Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is nearing the point in his rehab that he could be close to throwing a football again.
What that means for him playing in a game in the near future is still to be determined.
Coach Adam Gase, speaking a day after Miami’s 42-23 loss in Houston on Thursday, said Tannehill is going through a “good process right now” but did not sound inclined to rush the starting quarterback back to the field.
“I just want to get all the information from the doctors,” Gase said. “I mean, we’re kind of in, it’s almost like uncharted waters. We don’t know how his body is going to respond every day. He’s just got to communicate with us honestly and we just have to keep working with the doctors and the trainers and him giving great feedback as to how he feels.”
Tannehill has sat out the last three games while dealing with a right shoulder injury, one the Dolphins say occurred on a late fourth-quarter hit against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 7. To that point in the year, Tannehill had completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 972 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions.
He has been limited in practice since, going through water-downed version of drills during portions of practice open to the media each week.
But it looks like that time where Tannehill is integrating back into the plans could be coming soon.
“From the trainers talking to me, it sounds like we’re close to the stage where we can get to that point where he could start throwing soon,” Gase said.
And when that time does indeed come, exactly what is Gase going to be looking for from Tannehill in practice before feeling comfortable putting him into a live game setting?
“When we get to that point where we’re having him practice and he’s going to go, I’ll have a better idea of ‘OK, he’s thrown this many balls just to the trainer or wide receiver standing stagnant,’” Gase said. “I have to get a lot of information before we get to that point. I know it’s five days from now until we have our first practice at least. I have some time to evaluate that to figure out what’s the best thing to do. I mean, I’m going to speak to the guys I need to speak to doctor-wise to make sure I’m not putting him into a position where he could relapse and we’re going through this all over again.”
Miami has turned to Brock Osweiler in the interim, which so far has included a 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears, a 32-21 loss to the Detroit Lions and Thursday’s loss to the Texans.
In those three, Osweiler has completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 860 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions. His worst performance of that span took place on Thursday, with Osweiler completing 21 of 37 passes for 241 yards and an interception.
“I think there was a lot of good that he did,” Gase said after the game. “We both wish we could have that interception back, just untimely for sure because of the way the game was going. A little miscommunication there, which was not what we needed. But for the most part, I thought he did a good job of getting the ball out.”