Dolphins must cope with Gibson loss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The crutches and a downtrodden look on Brandon Gibson's face told the story Sunday evening. Gibson is most likely done for the year with a significant knee injury.

Gibson blew out his knee in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots. Gibson jumped high for an errant Ryan Tannehill and landed awkwardly. He needed help off the field, was eventually carted back to the locker room and never return to the game.

There is a strong chance Gibson won’t return this season. According to an NFL Network report, Gibson has a torn patella tendon in his left knee, and that injury usually takes at least six months to recover.

The Dolphins will have further tests on Gibson Monday once the team returns to South Florida. But the receiver didn’t sound like a player who expects to return to the field any time soon.

“I think each and every game was a good experience for me,” Gibson said in the locker room, while reflecting on his season. “I feel like I was getting better. ... But this kind of puts a damper on it now.”

When asked about Gibson’s status during his post-game press conference, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said “I hadn’t really spoken to anybody about it.” Miami probably won't confirm the severity of Gibson's injury until the team has to decide whether to place him on injured reserve.

The Dolphins (3-4) only have three healthy receivers on their 53-man roster. With nine games remaining, Miami must find some answers and depth at receiver with Gibson out.

Miami currently has Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and second-year receiver Rishard Matthews on the 53-man roster. Ryan Spadola and Nathan Palmer also are on the practice squad.

For now the pressure is on Matthews to step up. The Dolphins like to run a lot of three-receiver sets, which would require Matthews to get a lot of playing time. Miami could also change its offense and go to more two tight-end sets.

Gibson was having a solid season. He recorded 30 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his touchdowns were in the past two games.

Gibson was quietly on of this year’s best free-agent pickups for Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. Now, Ireland must come up with another solution to keep Miami’s passing offense going.