Ryan Tannehill makes limited return to practice, could play if Dolphins advance

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, left, talks with quarterbacks Matt Moore and T.J. Yates, second from right, during practice Thursday.
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DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill practiced on a limited basis Friday and might be available next week if his team advances to the second round of the playoffs.

Tannehill worked with the scout team in his first practice since being sidelined against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 because of a sprained left knee. He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, and 10-year veteran Matt Moore will make his first playoff start.

Before practice, Miami waived backup defensive end Jason Jones, signaling four-time Pro Bowler Mario Williams will likely make his playoff debut this week as a reserve.

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Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell again sat out practice and is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury that has forced him to miss the past two games.

If the Dolphins win, they’ll play at New England on Jan. 14. Tannehill said he doesn’t know whether he’ll be ready to play next week.

“Right now it’s tough to say,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can to get out there as soon as possible, as soon as they clear me to go.”

Coach Adam Gase described Tannehill’s return to practice as one of his “baby steps” regarding recovery. Postseason surgery hasn’t been ruled out, Tannehill said, and the risk of further damage if he plays is still be assessed.

“That’s something we’re working through, just figuring out where my knee is at structurally,” Tannehill said.

“We’re being smart with it. If there’s a huge risk of doing further damage, then Adam has made it clear that he’s not going to let me go back out there.”

Gase said Tannehill’s knee may not be 100 percent before the end of the postseason, and added it will be important how Tannehill feels after the workout.

“That’s why we did it today,” Gase said. “We’ve got the next couple of days to see what happens post-practice.”

Tannehill has never appeared in the playoffs in his five NFL seasons, compounding his frustration regarding the injury.

“He has been on me pretty good about getting back out there and doing some work,” Gase said.

The release of Jones was unexpected. The nine-year pro had 3 sacks this season, while Williams has 1 sacks in limited action in his 11th NFL season. Williams was inactive last week.