MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Those who want to question the signing have ammunition: Terron Armstead, the guy with a long injury history, has missed four games this season. Was it surprising?
There’s another way to look at it, one that takes into account both the Dolphins’ and the player’s interest: The three-time Pro Bowl left tackle gave the Dolphins another Pro Bowl season despite were told he had better have foot surgery, which would have ended his season after just one week.
We’ll never know how much more dominant Armstead could have been this season without that initial injury. What we do know is that it forced him to compensate, setting off a chain reaction of so many other injuries that the team’s injury report listed him with four hurts.
The formatted injury chart makes it difficult to do much more.
Not only have injuries forced Armstead to barely practice this season – how many Pro Bowl players can say that? — but trying to stay ahead of the game, he has his Dallas-based physical therapist live with him in season.
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“We work a few days a week, so we always try to keep everything flexible,” he said.
Armstead missed the regular season finale against the Jets. It remains to be determined if he can fit for the wild card game in Buffalo.
“It was difficult, but I don’t hesitate at all,” he said. “I want nothing more than to be out there with my guys in Buffalo on Sunday. It’s not something I wouldn’t tick to do. So if I’m able to be functional — for me it’s not about pain, I can deal with any kind of pain. It’s the function of the muscle and the things around it. If it holds and I can go, I go.
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The Dolphins cite Armstead as having toe, chest, knee and hip injuries. Before you can ask which is more troublesome, he will stop you.
“It’s true,” he laughs. “I have a shopping list on the injury report, don’t I? It’s crazy.”
Armstead calls first season in Miami a ‘blessing’
Although laughter is as good a medicine as any, things took on a worrying tone when he first injured his toe and saw several specialists.
“I put together a Pro Bowl campaign, All-Pro even for injuries,” he said. “I could have had surgery in week 1 and be done. Counter notice, we locked ourselves in and got dressed. It was awesome, man, to just be with these guys, this new environment, this new team, this new city. I can’t see it as anything less than awesome. It is a blessing.
It wasn’t an All-Pro award, but another blessing came in Armstead on Wednesday when reporters covering the team presented him with the 2022 Good Guy Award, given annually by the Miami chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America. at Dolphin the most professionalism. and courtesy with the media. Armstead said his approach with reporters is based on his philosophy of showing respect to everyone he meets and treating them as he would like to be treated. He was particularly happy to know that a quarter of the players on the list had received support for the honor.
“We get the right people in the building,” he said. “People who respect the game, respect the way it’s played and all of its nuances on and off the pitch. It’s important. It’s hugely important to have that in the dressing room – guys who can express themselves , communicate, show that respect through the ups and downs because we’ve been through a five-game, five-game losing streak. So to have that many guys for an award like that says a lot about the team.
Armstead: No one wants to hear injury excuses
Throughout the season, Armstead has patiently answered questions not only as an offensive line leader, but also about his injuries. It was not in a search for sympathy, but rather, in a concrete way.
“Nobody cares, really,” he said of the injuries as an excuse. “As the film won’t be labeled, ‘In this game, No. 72 had a toe, a knee, a pec, a back, a head, shoulders, knees and toes.’ ”
Maybe it was a slip that he mentioned the toe injury first and last, maybe not. If the doctors wanted to operate in September, they may want to do it after the season is over. Armstead refuses to look that far, instead focusing on what he needs to do to protect Skylar Thompson from the Bills.
“I’m focused on winning today, really,” he said.
If he opts for surgery, it could help him avoid going through in 2023 what he went through in 2022.
“A lot of it comes from the foot injury in Week 1,” he said. “The body being such a machine and sometimes overly intelligent, you get compensated with muscles that start to shut down and affect other things. So like I’m dealing with my right leg, really. So, I ‘just try to bring everything to a point of strength and function, then if I can push and drive, I’m going.
Armstead signed with the Dolphins as a free agent from New Orleans, where he appeared in nine playoff games. It’s the kind of experience that most dolphins lack. He wants his teammates to focus on the “details” such as penalties, line-ups and communication. Through this team’s long streaks, such details can be overlooked.
“Now it’s all the little intangibles that can get you going or send you home,” he said. “The things we were gaining despite, we start losing because of that.”