The Dolphins are in the market for a new kick returner now that Albert Johnson has been injured, and it appears they will be turning to a familiar face.

We're talking about Robert Baker, who will be signed this week to replace Johnson.

Johnson sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in the game against Kansas City and is headed for the injured reserve list for the second consecutive year.

Baker has never played in a regular season game with the Dolphins, but has been in training camp the last four years.

He has returned punts and kickoffs for the Dolphins during the preseason, and has shown some ability in that department, although not nearly as much explosiveness as Johnson showed this preseason.

Coach Dave Wannstedt said on Monday that he was leaning toward using on the players currently on the roster to return kicks against New England this Sunday. That would mean Dedric Ward returning punts and Travis Minor returning kickoffs.

The shame about Johnson's injury is that he played his best game on Sunday before he got hurt on a play where he made one bad — and ultimately very costly — decision.

Johnson was injured when he was nailed by Chiefs special-teamer Marc Boerigter immediately after catching a punt with just over two minutes left in the game.

Johnson, who tore an ACL in his right knee during training camp last year, wasn't ready to give up on the season on Monday, even though plans were being made to replace him.

"I don't know the full extent of the injury yet," he said. "It's frustrating to know it can potentially be a severe injury. I don't think it's the same as last year as far as the pain factor. It doesn't hurt as bad as it did last year.

"I just started getting comfortable, and I'll be back."


The Dolphins also might make a move on their practice squad this week, and it would involve rookie offensive lineman Antwan Kirk-Hughes.

Kirk-Hughes will come in for a workout on Tuesday, and if all goes well look for him to be signed to the practice squad.

A rookie from the University of Texas, the 6-3, 315-pound Kirk-Hughes was not drafted this April but he went to training camp with the San Diego Chargers.

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