If the Miami Dolphins hope to improve to .500 on Sunday, they will have to do so without one of their best defenders.
Dolphins outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, one of the top free-agent acquisitions Miami made this past offseason, is inactive and will not play for Miami (2-3) against the New York Jets (0-5) at 4:05 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium.
Van Noy is dealing with two injuries. He practiced on a limited basis this past week with a groin injury and is dealing with a foot injury the Dolphins listed on their injury report Saturday afternoon.
The Dolphins have their bye next week, and playing without Sunday Van Noy, who signed a four-year deal that could be worth $51 million, could allow the seven-year veteran to return to full strength for the second half of Miami’s season.
Van Noy has contributed 19 tackles, two sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered one in five games for the Dolphins, providing leadership and a veteran presence for one of the youngest teams in the NFL this season.
Without Van Noy, the Dolphins will likely turn to second-year outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel to set the edge defensively along with defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson.
Van Ginkel has started one of the five games he’s played this season, and has contributed 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble this year.
Dolphins linebackers Jerome Baker, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Elandon Roberts could also see an expanded role in Van Noy’s absence.
Lawson, who was dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 4 and missed last week’s game, will return to action although his availability could be somewhat limited depending on the shoulder.
Lawson, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal this past offseason, has a sack, six quarterback hits and nine tackles in four games with four starts this season.
Dolphins third-year tight end Durham Smythe, who missed last week’s game with a knee injury, will also return to action against the Jets.
The other inactive players for the Dolphins: running back Jordan Howard (now inactive for the second straight game), wide receiver Malcolm Perry, running back Salvon Ahmed and defensive end Jason Strowbridge.
The Dolphins elevated undrafted rookie defensive tackle Benito Jones to their active roster for the Jets game. Jones could play in his first career NFL game.
The move was necessitated by the Dolphins placing fourth-year defensive tackle Davon Godchaux on injured reserve for a biceps injury he underwent surgery to correct this past week. Godchaux could miss the rest of the season, but is hopeful to return before season’s end.
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