Football officially returns Thursday, and Branden Albert will soon, too.
As for DeVante Parker? He is still at least a month away from taking the field.
Parker, who had surgery to replace a screw in his foot two months ago, has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which precludes him from practicing when Dolphins training camp opens Thursday morning.
However, Parker’s agent Jimmy Gould was emphatic in saying that “everything points to [Parker] being ready for the regular season.”
It’s unclear whether Parker, the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick, will play in a preseason game. However, Parker’s rehab is on schedule — if not ahead of it — for him to be available when the Dolphins face the Redskins on Sept. 13.
“I couldn’t be happier with where he is,” Gould said when asked about Parker’s recovery, adding the wide receiver is already working out.
As for Albert, the star left tackle who is 10 months removed from major knee surgery, he will begin training camp on the active roster.
There was some concern he would open camp on the PUP list, but Dolphins doctors determined he is healthy enough to practice in the near future.
It’s not clear how much on-field work he will do during Thursday morning’s session at the team’s Davie practice facility, but if Albert was deemed unable to work with his teammates for an extended period of time, they would have put him on the PUP list.
The team’s top priority is to have Albert healthy and ready for the regular-season opener, so they will be judicious in how much actual contact Albert sees, particularly early in the preseason.
But along with Parker, two other Dolphins players will not be available Thursday: defensive back Don Jones and tight end Gerell Robinson.
Jones missed all of the spring with a shoulder injury; he begins training camp on PUP. Robinson’s issue, however, is unclear. The Dolphins placed him on the active/non-football injury list with an unspecified issue.
The news is better for Caleb Sturgis, the embattled kicker who missed much of the spring with a quadriceps injury he sustained during a team-organized kickball game.
He begins camp on the active roster. Sturgis not only needs to beat out strong-legged rookie Andrew Franks for the job, but he also must show the coaches enough during the preseason that they decide not to replace him with an available veteran. Sturgis, now in his third season, has connected on just 77.5 percent of his field-goal attempts in his career.
The Dolphins also will be closely monitoring the competition at offensive guard. Although free agent guard Evan Mathis remains available, the Dolphins appear inclined, at least initially, to give every opportunity for their current guards to win the two open starting jobs.
That group includes Billy Turner, Jeff Linkenbach, Dallas Thomas and rookie Jamil Douglas.
The other big position battle to watch: cornerback, where Jamar Taylor, Will Davis, Brice McCain and Zack Bowman will all vie for the starting spot opposite Brent Grimes. Taylor appears to be the front-runner for the job; Davis looked fluid during spring ball after sustaining a season-ending knee injury late in the 2014 season.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins filled in the back end of their roster Wednesday when they signed defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, wide receiver Kai De La Cruz and tackle Chris Martin. They also waived defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy to make room.
The first training camp practice is at 8 a.m. Thursday at team headquarters. Admission is free, but a ticket is needed for entry. For more information, visit MiamiDolphins.com.
Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.
DOLPHINS TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
▪ Thursday, July 30, 8 a.m.
▪ Friday, July 31, 8 a.m.
▪ Saturday, Aug. 1, 8 a.m.
▪ Sunday, Aug. 2, 8 a.m.
▪ Tuesday, Aug. 4, 8 a.m.
▪ Wednesday, Aug. 5, 8 a.m.
▪ Thursday, Aug. 6, 8 a.m.
▪ Friday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m. (at FIU Stadium)
▪ Sunday, Aug. 9, 3 p.m.
▪ Monday, Aug. 10, 12:30 p.m.
▪ Tuesday, Aug. 11, 8 a.m.
▪ Saturday, Aug. 15, 1:15 p.m. (Finatics Season Ticket Members only)
▪ Sunday, Aug. 16, 8 a.m.
▪ Monday, Aug. 17, 8 a.m.
Note: All practices will be held at Doctors Hospital Training Facility in Davie except Aug. 7.
Call 954-452-7004 for more information.