Posted by Will Brinson
Jake Long is the key to what probably amounts as the biggest matchup in Thursday night's matchup between Miami and Chicago (although Andy earlier made a compelling case that Cameron Wake is actually the biggest factor), because without one of the top tackles in the game, the Dolphins will have their hands full with Julius Peppers.
So, good news for Miami -- Long, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols "does expect to play tonight."
Miami should have it's hands full running against a Bears defense that's been second best in the league against the run so far this year as it is (with Tyler Thigpen taking his first start with the 'Fins, surely Chicago will be looking to stack the box anyway).
So the news that Long will play is great for the Dolphins, at least right now. As Andy and I discussed on the preview podcast, however, a shoulder injury is nothing to play around with, and even though this game is vital for the 2010 season, there has to be a little concern about the long-term effects that playing with the injury could have.
That being said, it seems unlikely that Miami would put Long on the field if they weren't confident he was healthy enough to play.
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