Dolphins' Garner to miss at least eight weeks after foot surgery

Dolphins offensive lineman Nate Garner is expected to be out at least eight weeks after undergoing surgery on his left foot, which was operated on last spring, Miami-area newspapers reported Tuesday.

Garner, who started eight games at guard last season and was backing up right tackle Vernon Carey this preseason, broke the foot in practice last week, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Garner, a fourth-year pro out of Arkansas, is expected to miss eight weeks, according to the Miami Herald. The earliest he would be available in such a scenario is Oct. 4, when the Dolphins are home against the New England Patriots.

Garner was at his more natural right guard spot when he re-injured his foot, according to the Herald.

"Garner had a foot injury on the same foot and had surgery," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano told the Sun Sentinel after practice Tuesday. He said second-year tackles Andrew Gardner and Lydon Murtha will compete to fill Garner's backup spot.

Garner's injury complicates things for Sparano, who would like to establish his starting guards before the Dolphins' third preseason game, Aug. 27 against the Atlanta Falcons. Rookie guard John Jerry, a third-round draft pick who had been starting at right guard, injured his right knee Monday and didn't train Tuesday, the Sun Sentinel reported.

"We'll keep slugging it out here, but I think it has to settle down by the next week, or by the end of this preseason game," Sparano told the Sun Sentinel. "I kind of got to get it settled down one way or the other.

"It is unmuddying a little bit with the players we have right now in some situations. I'm starting to see a couple of guys getting a little bit better. Unfortunately, what I thought was happening in (Saturday's 10-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), we came out here in practice, a few of them took a step backwards in practice ... but today was a little bit better."

Seventh-year lineman Richie Incognito has been starting at left guard, and Donald Thomas and Cory Procter also are in contention. Joe Berger and Jake Grove are competing for the starting center job.

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