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Ryan Tannehill sprained ACL, MCL versus Cardinals

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The Dolphins entered Monday expecting the worst, and left it with incredible news.

Believing that quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's victory over the Arizona Cardinals, they were relieved to find that the former first-round pick simply sprained his ACL and MCL. According to head coach Adam Gase, he will not need surgery.

NFL Network's Courtney Fallon reports the Dolphins will evaluate Tannehill on a week-to-week basis, but the QB being back by Week 17 or the playoffs is a possibility, according to sources informed.

Tannehill was hit by Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell while stepping into a throw Sunday. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the league is reviewing the hit. Gase told reporters on Monday that he didn't blame Campbell for the hit given his size and how fast he was going at the time of the collision.

While his streak of 77 consecutive starts is almost certainly in jeopardy this weekend when the team flies north to take on the Jets (Gase said he isn't sure if the quarterback will be able to come back this season), Tannehill is avoiding the kind of procedure and rehabilitation process that could keep him out almost a year. While a torn anterior cruciate ligament is not the death sentence it once was, it still commands a lengthy rehab process that might have left the Dolphins without their starting quarterback on opening day of next season. Tannehill is currently tied for fifth with Seattle's Russell Wilson among active quarterbacks for most consecutive starts.

Tannehill will finish a season with a winning record as a starter for the first time in his career. If Sunday was his last game of the season, he finished with a career-best 67.1 completion percentage. He threw for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. While the Dolphins are currently the first team out of the AFC playoff picture, he had Miami eyeing the postseason for the first time since 2008. That challenge will now fall on the shoulders of career backup Matt Moore, who last started a game back in 2011.

Having a healthy offseason will be crucial for the Dolphins (8-5), who are aiming to pick up in 2017 where they left off. Gase has been a breath of fresh air for the franchise and quarterback, vowing to stick by the maligned 2012 first-round pick through choppy waters. The payoff seems to be a new attitude in south Florida, though we may have to wait until next year to see it truly come to fruition.

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