DAVIE, Fla. -- Although Branden Albert didn't care to make a big spectacle of it, Sunday's Week 1 victory over the Washington Redskins marked a long but successful road back to football for the Miami Dolphins' starting left tackle.
Albert tore his ACL and MCL in Week 10 last season against the Detroit Lions and spent the past 10 months rehabbing to make it back for the Dolphins' regular-season opener. Albert passed his first test by making it through four successful quarters against Washington without playing a single preseason game.
"Oh, man, I feel like a Mack truck hit me," Albert said. "Not just my knee, my body. I'm sore all over. I hadn't played football in 10 months. I had been practicing the last two weeks, but my teammates take it somewhat easy on me. They push me, but they're not going to push me like another guy on another team would."
It was a very physical game last Sunday in Washington, where there were multiple injuries suffered from both teams.
Albert had a brief scare and was tested for a concussion in the second half. Albert answered all the questions correctly and quickly returned to the game to help protect Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill down the stretch.
"It was just [asked] where I was at, what stadium I was playing in and what was the date?" Albert said. "I got all of them right. I'm pretty sound on that. So I'm good."
The Dolphins' offensive line, with Albert, had its ups and downs in the first game. Miami allowed three quarterback sacks, but two of those were in scenarios when Tannehill held the ball too long. The Dolphins didn't run much until the second half and produced 72 rushing yards in the third and fourth quarters.
Albert was most disappointed in his part in the sack/fumble in the third quarter. Washington ran a stunt on Miami's left side and caused confusion on the Dolphins' offensive line. Tannehill was stripped and the ball bounced around several times before Washington grabbed it. Albert was one of several players who had a chance at the recovery.
"Me and Dallas [Thomas], we both had our fault in that," Albert explained. "I take the blame on that, too. ... The worst part about it is I missed the fumble [recovery]."
The Dolphins' offensive line still has things to work on but is clearly better when a healthy Albert is in the lineup.