Jaelan Phillips gets carted off after Achilles injury (0:20)Jaelan Phillips leaves the field on a cart after he goes down in the 4th quarter of the Dolphins-Jets matchup. (0:20)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips left Friday's 34-13 win over the New York Jets with an Achilles injury and did not return, casting a dark cloud over an otherwise dominant performance from the Dolphins' defense.
Phillips went down with a non-contact lower leg injury late in the fourth quarter; the television replay showed what appeared to be his calf firing - a telling sign of a ruptured Achilles tendon. He was taken back to the locker room on a cart and was visibly emotional on his way off the field.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was not optimistic about Phillips' injury when he provided an update after the game.
"It's his Achilles -- doesn't look great, but we'll find out more tomorrow," McDaniel said. "Yeah, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but not fired up about it."
Phillips was surrounded by his teammates as he was helped onto the cart in what McDaniel described as an "emotional" moment.
McDaniel said the Dolphins are preparing for the "worst case scenario" when it comes to Phillips, but added that he believes the third-year linebacker has the proper temperament to bounce back from the injury.
"I think that's one of the special things about this particular team is there's a lot of shared journeys, so everybody sees what he puts in on a daily basis," McDaniel said. "Everyone knows how bad he wants to take steps in his game and be absolutely great in this league, which he has and I'm very proud of him the whole season and it's very, very tough in the short term from my vantage point.
"If it's the worst-case scenario, it's also you get a chance to write your own story. He's the type of person and he has the right mindset where he'll be able to turn anything that's perceived as negative into eventual positive. But this is going to be tough."
A prolonged Phillips absence would presumably lead to increased roles for linebacker Andrew van Ginkel, who has 4 sacks this season, and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who had 18 total sacks in 2020 and 2021 before signing a $65 million contract in the 2022 offseason.
Phillips is the latest in a long list of players to suffer an injury on the turf field at MetLife Stadium, including Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who tore his Achilles just four plays into the season.
Dolphins safety Jevon Holland called the field "trash" while running back Raheem Mostert, who has long been an outspoken proponent of turf playing surfaces, insisted that something needs to be done about the field at MetLife Stadium.
"I mean you saw what happened to Rodgers in the very first game within the first series, and it just sucks man," he said. "And for JP, I know he's going to get his mental right and be back stronger and better than ever. But we got to do something about this turf and this playing surface. Obviously, it's still a major problem even with trying to figure out what we can do, but I don't know. It just has to change."
Phillips played in just 8 of the Dolphins' 11 games this season but was tied for the team lead with 6.5 sacks. Speaking to local media last week, the 2021 first-round pick said the injuries he dealt with earlier this season took a mental toll on him.
"It was really tough for me, I'm not going to lie, pretty much that month where I missed three and a half games essentially and was dealing with all those injuries," he said on November 13. "It's pretty crazy what it can do to you psychologically when it comes to confidence, when it comes to preparedness, just everything. I just felt like I was a shell of myself. Even when I was getting back onto the field, I was second-guessing everything."
Phillips medically retired after a series of injuries during his first two collegiate seasons at UCLA, before unretiring and transferring to the University of Miami. He had played in all 34 possible games during his first two seasons with the Dolphins, recording a team-high 15.5 sacks in that span.