MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle remained in concussion protocol Friday but has not been ruled out by coach Mike McDaniel ahead of Sunday’s home opener against the Denver Broncos.
Waddle will officially be listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. He has advanced to the point of limited practice participation and was spotted in a red, non-contact jersey during a media viewing period Friday. He entered concussion protocol due to a hit to the head he took in last Sunday night’s 24-17 win at the New England Patriots.
“We’ll see how he progresses,” McDaniel said before practice. “We’ll see what the medical staff tells me about his position in the protocol (Saturday) and the day after and the day after.”
McDaniel would not comment on the possibility of him playing Sunday.
“I’m going to wait until he clears the protocol first before I even enter into that field,” McDaniel said.
Waddle was a non-participant in practices on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the team’s injury reports, before appearing Friday. He was seen during team stretch at Wednesday’s session but without a helmet and not otherwise partaking in drills.
Waddle went down late in the game at Gillette Stadium after taking helmet-to-helmet contact from linebacker Marte Mapu that resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty. Waddle did not return.
The Dolphins’ standout third-year wideout led the team in receiving against the Patriots, with 86 yards on four receptions. Waddle’s presence could be key against the Broncos, who have All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain II capable of locking down one side and maybe limiting what Miami’s Tyreek Hill can do.
“It’s tough,” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said Wednesday about possibly playing without Waddle. “I would say the rest of the guys in that room, they’re ready to step up. They’re ready to play. Doesn’t change how I prepare.”
Said Hill on Thursday: “We’d love Jaylen to play. I love him like a brother, man. But obviously, health is everything. In the NFL, the mindset is next man up.”
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