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Marino Could Be Out A While

While quarterback Damon Huard led the Miami Dolphins to another win, Dan Marino maintained his position on the sideline as a backup and coach.

It's a scenario the Dolphins might have for the next several weeks.

Marino will fly to California on Tuesday to see a specialist and get a second opinion on his neck injury, ESPN reported Sunday. Marino has a bone spur in his neck that caused spasms and weakness in the muscle between his neck and right shoulder.

The injury has limited his throwing distance and velocity, so much so that he has not practiced since starting last Sunday's game against New England. He went 1-for-3 against the Patriots before being pulled in favor of Huard.

"When I go (see a specialist), it's my business and no one else's," Marino said after Miami's 16-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

The Dolphins declined to comment on the report.

"He's still having problems throwing the ball," coach Jimmy Johnson said. "We kept him as the third quarterback because, more than anything else, I wanted him to be a coach today. He said he could go in and hand off, but he'd have a tough time throwing the ball."

Marino might not have had to throw.

The Dolphins ran the ball a season-high 39 times for 149 yards, helping them control the clock for more than 36 minutes. They attempted a season-low 21 passes, all by Huard.

Huard completed 15 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He made only one mistake, but it nearly cost Miami the game.

With the Dolphins leading 13-3 and four minutes to play in the third quarter, Huard audibled to a passing play and was intercepted by Brian Dawkins, who returned it 67 yards for a touchdown.

"I think they knew it was coming," Huard said. "I didn't really see the inside guy and he jumped on it and went the other way. He may a good play."

The interception return for a touchdown was Huard's second in as many weeks and the Dolphins' fourth this season.

Nonetheless, Johnson thought Huard played well.

"Other than checking off to the pass there and giving them a touchdown, other than that, I liked it," Johnson said. "We were pounding them pretty good, and he felt like he could throw it out there for an easy seven or eight yards, but he didn't see No. 20 there and he picked it off and ran for the touchdown. Other than that, I thought he did a good job."

His teammates agreed.

"He was very confident like he was in New England," said tight end Troy Drayton, who caught four passes for 38 yards. "He's got the respect of the guys and he deserves it. He's won two games for us and right now he's our starting quarterback."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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