FIEDLER ON SIDELINES

The Dolphins suffered a minor setback over the weekend when Jay Fiedler underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left hip.<P>The quarterback is expected to miss the start of training camp, which begins Thursday for rookies and Sunday for the full squad.

The Dolphins will have a more definite idea of Fiedler's return date when they re-evaluate him later in the week, but don't be surprised if the winds up skipping the first preseason game Aug. 12 at Tampa Bay, particularly since the Dolphins play three days later against New Orleans.

The procedure was performed to repair a labral tear in the hip. Fiedler had been bothered by the injury over the past couple of weeks, although he didn't miss any time during the Dolphins' offseason camps.

"It was felt that if Jay were to continue to play with this condition, it could have a negative effect on his performance during the 2002 season," Coach Dave Wannstedt said in a statement. "As a result, the decision was made to have the surgery now. We hope Jay will be ready shortly after the start of training camp. He has been working here since March, and is fully up to speed with the changes in our offense. That preparation will especially be helpful if he's not completely recovered when camp opens."

The injury and operation aren't major deals in and of themselves, but they're a little concern because the Dolphins are breaking in a new offense this year with Norv Turner as the new coordinator.

Because Turner's offense is said to be significantly more complicated than that of Chan Gailey, the Dolphins don't want to see any significant player miss any time at all.

The good news is that Fiedler is a very sharp guy, and he easily should be able to make up for missing a few days.

Besides, it made more sense for the Dolphins to address this situation now rather than take the chance of postponing surgery and having the problem flare up during the regular season.

"I felt some soreness in my hip recently and after looking at it, it was felt that it should be addressed now so that it wouldn't cause any potential problems during the season," Fiedler said. "I'm not worried if I miss a little bit of time at the beginning of training camp. I've been here the entire offseason and know what we're doing with our new offense. The important thing is to make sure that this didn't become a problems sometime during the regular season."


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