Numerous Dolphins defenders will sit out tonight's exhibition game against the Carolina Panthers.
The team's top pass rusher, Cameron Wake, who was car accident earlier this week, didn't even make the trip to Carolina because he's recovering from whiplash.
Linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, who sat out this week's practice nursing minor injuries the team hasn't disclosed, also aren't expected to play against the Panthers.
Neither is defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who suffered a minor knee injury in last week's 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay.
It is also possible two veteran offensive linemen, Artis Hicks and Eric Steinbach, could sit out the second exhibition game. Both have sparingly practiced this week.
It's normal for NFL teams to sit key veterans for the second and fourth exhibition games, especially when injuries are a factor. Their absence will give a few youngsters and fringe players an opportunity to receive more playing time.
Rookie defensive ends Olivier Vernon, the team's third-round pick, is expected to start in Wake's place. And Derrick Shelby, a undrafted rookie from Utah who has impressed the coaches this camp, will likely have a larger role.
Veterans Jason Trusnik and Gary Guyton will likely replace Dansby and Wake as the starting inside and weakside linebackers.
McDaniel's absence will allow the coaches to get a more extensive evaluation of Kheeston Randall, Ryan Baker, Isaako Aaitui and Chas Alecxih, defensive tackles who are all pushing for a spot on the 53-man roster.
The Dolphins expect to rachet up practice's intensity next week as the team goes through a dry run of preparation for the regular season in exhibition game number three.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times