Miami Dolphins starting strong safety Louis Delmas had earned praise for his remarkably quick comeback from a serious knee injury suffered last December.
The recovery process will now have to start all over again.
A source told FOX Sports that an initial diagnosis revealed Delmas re-tore his right anterior cruciate ligament Wednesday during a joint practice against the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C. Delmas will undergo an MRI exam to confirm the finding.
Delmas, 28, joined the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in 2014 after spending the previous five seasons with the Detroit Lions. He had registered 63 tackles with three passes defensed and one interception before getting injured in Week 14 against Baltimore.
The Dolphins were encouraged enough by the speed of Delmas' recovery from his first knee injury that he was re-signed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens are the leading candidates to replace him in the starting lineup.
Appearing last Sunday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Delmas told co-host Mark Dominik and me that he set two goals for the 2015 campaign following surgery. The first was to remain healthy for the entire season. The second was to help fellow Dolphins safety Reshad Jones reach the Pro Bowl.
"He deserves it," Delmas said of Jones. "When I came here, Reshad opened my eyes. Not only is he a hard hitter, he communicates well. He's all over the field. He can cover like a corner. For a dude to go each and every game with multiple (pass breakups), interceptions and 10 to 12 tackles a game to not be at least nominated to be in the Pro Bowl says something about the eyes that are watching him. If I come in and do my job and be at the right place at the right time, he'll be the No. 1 safety."
It doesn't appear Delmas will be able to help Jones in his quest. The injury will likely send Delmas to injured reserve.