The Miami Dolphins' COVID-19 situation appears to have gotten worse.
Just days after securing a comeback victory against the Arizona Cardinals without five assistant coaches, the Dolphins will likely be without two starting defenders this weekend due to COVID-19 protocols.
Dolphins veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, second-year defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and practice squad receiver Matt Cole were placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.
All three players could miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, when the Dolphins hope to extend their four-game winning streak and improve their second-place standing in the AFC East and seventh-place standing in the AFC playoff race.
“Our guys have done a good job as far as having the next-man-up mentality. Whether it’s players, coaches, equipment, training room — I think everyone has that mentality,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said before Thursday’s practice, which Van Noy, Wilkins and Cole missed.
The team also removed rookie receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. from the list, which denotes a player has either tested positive or been in contact with someone who did test positive.
Even if a player tests negative, NFL regulations state players must quarantine for at least five days — which could put Wilkins, Van Noy and Cole out of Sunday’s game.
The NFL’s protocols also extend to the Dolphins' coaching staff, which welcomed defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander back to practice this week after he missed the Cardinals game.
However, Dolphins quarterbacks coach Robby Brown, defensive line coach Marion Hobby and outside linebackers coach Austin Clark were still absent from Thursday’s practice.
Offensive quality control coach Kolby Smith also missed the Cardinals game.
Van Noy, who signed a four-year deal that could be worth $51 million in the offseason, already missed Miami’s win over the New York Jets with groin and foot injuries. Van Noy has 33 tackles, two fumbles forced, two sacks and four pass deflections in seven games this season.
Wilkins, the first-round pick out of Clemson playing in his second NFL season, has an interception, five pass defections, a fumble recovery and a sack in the eight games Miami has played.
Bowden, who was designated to the COVID-19 list last Friday, will play in his fifth game this season, while Cole, an undrafted free agent, has yet to play in a Dolphins game this season.
Other news and notes
— Dolphins running back Matt Brieda practiced Thursday as a limited participant. He did not practice at all last week, missing Miami’s win at Arizona.
— Dolphins tight end Durham Smythe, who remains in concussion protocol, was a limited participant for the second straight practice.
— Defensive back Jamal Perry, who missed last week’s game with a foot injury, was also a limited participant.
— Dolphins rookie defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, the Alabama standout taken in the second round of the 2020 draft, did not practice on Thursday. His absence was not injury related.
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