WARD HAS SURGERY

Wide receiver Dedric Ward underwent surgery on his injured left foot on Thursday, and the word now is that he'll miss the entire preseason.<p>

The original diagnosis had Ward being out 4-6 weeks, but that was changed after the surgery, which was nonetheless deemed successful.

If Ward is able to make it back in five weeks, he would begin practicing only days before the Dolphins' season opener, which is scheduled for Sept. 9 at Tennessee.

That means if might be safer to anticipate Ward being back in action for the second game of the season, Sept. 16 at home against Buffalo.

The absence of Ward means rookie Chris Chambers, who has been very impressive so far in training camp, almost assuredly will be the No. 3 receiver behind starters Oronde Gadsden and James McKnight.

"It's unfortunate, but it's part of the game," Ward said of his injury. "It was a gradual thing and all I can do now is work as hard as I can to get back on the field as soon as possible."

Ward sustained the injury while running routes in practice, and the pain has gotten progressively worse.

Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Ward is being counted on as a key backup to Gadsden and McKnight. With the Jets last season, Ward caught 54 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns, and averaged 14.8 yards per reception.

Ward became the third Dolphins player to sustain a significant injury during training camp, following offensive tackle Brent Smith and rookie linebacker Morlon Greenwood.

Smith was lost for the season when he tore the ACL in his left knee on the first full day of training camp, while Greenwood was sidelined for 2-3 weeks when he sustained a sprained left foot.


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