GARDENER STATUS IN THE AIR

Defensive tackle Daryl Gardener's back hadn't given him problems since training camp, but it has been acting up this week and it might keep him out of Sunday's showdown against the New York Jets.

Gardener, who hasn't been able to practice this week, was downgraded on Thursday from probable for Sunday's game to questionable.

Reports indicated Gardener underwent an MRI on Wednesday after waking up in the morning and feeling some stiffness.

Obviously, losing Gardener would be a major blow considering the kind of season he's having. Gardener leads all Miami defensive linemen in tackles and ranks among the sack leaders for players at his position.

Losing Gardener for the Jets game would be even more costly given that top backup Jermaine Haley will miss the game because of a broken thumb.

The Dolphins' options without Gardener include sliding defensive end Kenny Mixon inside and starting Lorenzo Bromell at end, or starting first-year player Ernest Grant, a young player with a lot of potential but virtually no experience.


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