Report: Miami Dolphins to Be ‘Cautious’ While Easing Xavien Howard Back From Injury

Xavien Howard Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The comeback of Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard from knee surgery has the team taking a cautious approach that will likely see him eased back into the lineup for Sunday’s opener.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald noted that the Dolphins are conscious of Howard’s past knee troubles and the fact that he’s just over nine months removed from major surgery.

“Because Howard is coming off serious knee surgery in December, I’m expecting him to be on the field for only some of the team’s defensive snaps on Sunday – a decent amount of snaps but not all of them,” Jackson wrote. “The Dolphins want to be cautious with him after his history of knee problems.

“Don’t be surprised to see Noah Igbinoghene and potentially Nik Needham get playing time on the boundary.”

Howard played in only five games last season because of knee problems that eventually resulted in his surgery. That came after he missed the last four games of the 2018 campaign because of a knee injury.

Igbinoghene was one of the Dolphins’ first-round picks in April, with that status likely to result in his seeing plenty of time on the field during his rookie season.

Needham started in 11 of the 12 games he played for the Dolphins last year, but he’ll largely be used to provide depth this season.

That’s because high-priced free-agent acquisition Byron Jones will be starting alongside Howard, with the Dolphins expecting big things to justify their steep investment.

The Dolphins face a stiff challenge to win on the road in Week 1, going up against the New England Patriots who now have Cam Newton under center.