12:25pm: Albert tore both his ACL and MCL, and has a projected recovery timetable of 9-12 months, according to James Walker of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In other words, there’s no guarantee he’ll be 100% by Week 1 in 2015.
MONDAY, 11:52am: Head coach Joe Philbin confirmed today that Albert will miss the rest of the season and will be placed on injured reserve, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
SUNDAY, 5:09pm: It is in fact a knee injury for Albert, tweets Florio.
5:05pm: There’s a somber mood in the Dolphins locker room this afternoon — not only did the club suffer a last-second loss to the Lions, but Miami left tackle Branden Albert told several players that he badly injured his knee and will miss the remainder of the season, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. A source confirms the news to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link), who says it’s an ankle injury rather than a knee ailment. Regardless of the specifics, it’s a devastating blow to the Dolphins, who at 5-4 are tied for second place in the AFC East.
“It’s tough losing Branden,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “I love the guy to death. He’s out there battling every day. He’s such a conistent guy, a solid guy in the offensive front. So losing him is tough.”
Albert, 30, signed a five-year, $47MM deal with the Dolphins prior to this season. He had spent the first six years of his career with the Chiefs after being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft. He’s started 83 games during his time in the league, and was enjoying an extremely productive season. Per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), Albert rated as the fourth-best tackle in the league, posting exceptional grades in the pass game. The Virginia product had added stability to an offensive line that had undergone a massive overhaul over the past year, dealt with the Richie Incognito bullying scandal in 2013, and missed star center Mike Pouncey for the early part of 2014.
Rookie Ja’Wuan James took over at left tackle for the duration of today’s contest, and he would seem to be the permanent replacement going forward. Nate Garner was inserted at right tackle, and Dallas Thomas is also an option at that position. As Salguero notes, Miami will probably look to add a player who can play both left and right tackle.