With two games left in the season and an exceedingly small chance at making the playoffs, the Miami Dolphins will have to make due without a pair of key contributors on offense.
The Miami Herald reported Monday that tight end Charles Clay and running back Daniel Thomas were both injured in Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Clay will miss the remainder of the season, while Thomas' status is more uncertain.
Clay tore a knee ligament and will undergo surgery this week, his agent told the Herald. He had only 18 catches for 212 yards this season, but his two touchdowns are second-best on the team behind fellow tight end Anthony Fasano.
Rookie Michael Egnew could see playing time in Clay's place, though he has not been activated for a single game thus far this season. The Dolphins also have Kyle Miller on the roster after claiming him off waivers from Indianapolis in November.
Thomas, meanwhile, injured his knee, but it is not clear whether he will miss time. Nonetheless, the Herald reported the team is considering placing him on injured reserve to free up a roster spot.
Thomas has gained 325 yards on 91 carries with four touchdowns in relief of Reggie Bush this season. He missed two games earlier this season after sustaining a concussion in Week 2. If Thomas is shelved for the remainder of the season, rookie Lamar Miller will likely take his place. Miller has 36 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown this season.
Regardless, the 6-8 Dolphins' chances at sneaking into the playoffs are very slim. Besides winning the final two games on the schedule (against Buffalo at home and at New England), the Dolphins need Cincinnati to lose its final two games and Pittsburgh to lose at home to 5-9 Cleveland.
Miami coach Joe Philbin played down the chance at a playoff berth as motivation on Monday. "The emphasis is a division opponent coming into our home stadium, and a team that we haven't beaten yet," Philbin said of Buffalo to the Sun Sentinel on Monday.
"If you want to a consistently good football team in the National Football League you've got to win your home games, you’ve got to win your division games," he added. "So that's the real emphasis this week."