The Miami Dolphins lost much more than a 24-17 preseason decision to the Houston Texans when tight end Dustin Keller went down with a gruesome knee injury early in the second quarter.
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports confirmed that Keller's injury will force him to miss the entire 2013 season.
Texans safety D.J. Swearinger led with his helmet and hit Keller in the knee in an attempt to break up the pass. Keller was clearly in significant pain and needed to be carted off the field.
Keller's injury overshadowed an overall encouraging performance from the Dolphins starters. The first team offense played into the second quarter and scored two touchdowns; a 9 yard pass from Tannehill to Wallace and a four yard run by Lamar Miller. The first team defense played nearly the entire first quarter and didn't allow any points.
To fill the void left by Keller, the Dolphins will need certain players to step up, including Dion Sims and Michael Egnew who are behind Keller on the depth chart. Production out of newly signed slot receiver Brandon Gibson and the versatile Charles Clay will be required in order to give Tannehill a safety valve in the passing game.
If the Dolphins elect to go the free agent route in search of a new tight end, Randy McMichael, Evan Moore and Todd Heap are the best options available. Kevin Boss is still on the market but has not yet been medically cleared from a concussion. It would be wise for the team to at least kick the tires on one of these players given the fact that the current tight end core is extremely unproven.
Making a trade for a tight end is also a path Miami can take. Brent Celek and Tony Moeaki were rumoured to be on the block earlier in training camp and in the offseason but their availablity is currently unclear.