Jake Long tried to play through a shoulder injury Thursday night, but he struggled mightily, uncharacteristically giving up three sacks. That has led the Miami Dolphins to consider shutting down their Pro Bowl left tackle for the season, a team source told The South Florida Sun Sentinel on Friday.
According to The Sun Sentinel, Long needs shoulder surgery and can't practice or lift weights for at least four months. However, another source told the newspaper that Long wants to finish the season. He hasn't missed a start in 42 NFL games since the Dolphins drafted him No. 1 overall in 2008.
Another sign that Miami might move on without Long: The team recently worked out veteran left tackles Levi Jones and Tony Ugoh, according to The Sun Sentinel. Jones made 97 total starts for the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins from 2002 to 2009, and Ugoh bounced in and out of the Indianapolis Colts' lineup from 2007 to 2009.
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano pulled Long late in Thursday night's game, when the outcome was apparent, and inserted Lydon Murtha at left tackle because he didn't want to risk further damage to his star lineman. Murtha most likely would be the Dolphins' starter if Long can't play next week against the Oakland Raiders.
"I think you've got to evaluate (Friday) how he feels after playing those plays, see where his strength is, all those things as we go forward here," Sparano said. "I've been in constant communication with Jake and with our trainers and the doctors here to make sure that we're doing the right things and not the wrong things."
The Dolphins have other issues on their offensive line. Backup center Cory Procter, who played in place of injured starter Joe Berger on Thursday night, suffered a season-ending knee injury and has been placed on injured reserve, according to The Miami Herald. Berger is expected to practice next week, according to The Sun Sentinel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.