DAVIE, Fla. — Coming off their bye and heading into a Week 6 battle against the Green Bay Packers, the Miami Dolphins may be more complete than they have at any point this season with as many as six injured or suspended starters expected back on the field Sunday.
Safety Reshad Jones took part his third practice since the end of his four-week suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey practiced with the first team — at both guard and center — for the first time this season after missing the team’s first four games due to hip surgery in June.
Both players expect to play for the first time this season against the Packers.
But they’re not the only two expecting to return to the lineup.
Running back Knowshon Moreno practiced for the first time since injuring his elbow in Week 2, while defensive tackle Randy Starks returned from a back injury. Middle linebacker Koa Misi (high-ankle sprain) and guard Shelley Smith (knee sprain) were also back in action.
Coach Joe Philbin was firm in stating that getting these players back up to speed is a day-by-day process.
"Some of them have been out this long, some of them have been out that long, some have looked great and some not so much," Philbin said. "We just have to take it one day at a time and see where they are and how much they can be utilized potentially in a ballgame."
While some players may be returning to action this week, others are not as fortunate.
Defensive end Derrick Shelby was suspended indefinitely Monday following his arrest early Saturday after an alleged dispute at Cyn nightclub in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Shelby’s troubles stunned fellow defensive end Jared Odrick.
"He’s such a smart guy. He’s knowledgeable and he loves his job and he loves working hard every day and coming in and really setting a standard," Odrick said. "It was shocking, especially when it’s someone so close."
Additionally, defensive end Dion Jordan remains on suspension for a substance-abuse violation.
According to Philbin, this week is about getting the returning players back up to speed and back in the game.
For his part, Pouncey, a Pro Bowl pick at center last season, said he doesn’t care where he plays, only that he does.
"I have no limitations. I’m practicing for the team," said Pouncey, who added he doesn’t think about his hip injury at all. "Obviously, I can’t wait to get back out there with the guys and whatever position I’m playing, I’ll help the team."