Tannehill's optimism about rapid return seems misplaced as pain persists

Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill resting injured shoulder again, aims to return for Nov. 25 game at Indianapolis.

DAVIE – Ryan Tannehill says he is confident he will play for the Dolphins again this season.

His account of what he has experienced since injuring his shoulder just over a month ago doesn’t inspired confidence that will happen.

Tannehill and the Dolphins now have the Nov. 25 game at Indianapolis following the bye week circled for the potential return of their starting quarterback. When he details the lack of progress in healing the injury to the capsule in his right shoulder, that sounds more like a hope and a prayer than a sound medical assessment.

It was confirmed Wednesday that Tannehill is resting the shoulder and will test it again next week. But, addressing the media about the injury for the first time since he was hurt Oct. 7 at Cincinnati, Tannehill acknowledged that a previous period of rest didn’t provide the desired result.

“Over the course of this process, we did a rest period of 10 days and tried to get back into throwing and it just wasn’t there,” Tannehill said. “Now we’re resting again, trying to get it to heal up because every time the arm goes that motion it stresses that capsule.

“That’s the goal right now, is just to let that thing tighten back down and heal up and then get back into throwing during the bye [week].”

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Rehab process tredious

Tannehill said he spends hours of every day on exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff around the capsule. But there’s nothing he can do to hasten healing of the capsule.

And after all of that work, he still cannot throw with enough authority to resume playing quarterback in the NFL.

“It’s just being able to make the throw. If it was just pain, then I could deal with that. Just being able to do the job is the issue,” he said.

Tannehill detailed the week leading up to the Oct. 14 game against the Bears when the situation deteriorated until he was ruled out he morning of the game.

“It’s been kind of a weird deal. Initially, I went through that week of practice early on and thought it was going to be one of those things I could just fight through. It just fell off the cliff as the week went on,” he said.

“It was a weird situtation where you think you’re going to be able to fight through it and it’s going to get better. As the week went on it just drastically went the other way.”

Asked if there has been progress in healing the joint, he said, “It was a little better when I went to throw again, it just wasn’t close to where it needed to be to do the job and make the throws I need to make.”

And why does he think the result will be different this time?

“It’s not set in stone. Have to see what happens. But that’s my goal. I’m all in on doing everything I can to be ready for Indy,” he said.

Future uncertain

Clearly, Tannehill is at a crossroads, not only in regard to this season but in the future of his career.

He’s a 30-year-old quarterback who has misses 24 of the past 29 games (including a playoff).

He said he has spoken to multiple doctors who have told him the injury won’t require surgery to fix, just time.

Meanwhile, he feels pain on any overhand motion.

“Obviously, it hurts. The pain I can deal with. It’s not just pushing through pain. It’s physically to be able to get the ball to where it needs to go,” Tannehill said.

Here’s the alarming part that doesn’t bode well for Nov. 25 objective.

“It’s the motion of throwing stresses the part that I injured,” Tannehill said. “I need it to be strong and be able to withstand that force going through the motions to do my job.

“I think it’s going to be playing through pain the rest of the year. It’s just, once I can make the throws and I can get the ball to where it needs to go then I can deal with the pain. Just being able to physical make those throws is what we’re trying to get to.”