The MRI on Mike Pouncey’s injured left knee was negative.
Branden Albert worked with the starters Monday, another important step in his path back from knee surgery.
And DeVante Parker returned to the practice field for the first time since undergoing foot surgery in June.
And that’s not even the best news for the Dolphins.
This is: The team remains quietly hopefully that Parker, the team’s first-round pick and most dynamic receiver, will be available when the season begins Sept. 13, the Miami Herald has learned.
Nearly three months removed from a procedure to replace a screw in his left foot, Parker was able to practice in a limited capacity Monday.
Speaking to reporters before practice, Parker was noncommittal about suiting up in Week 1. But privately, the organization believes he remains on schedule. The timeline all along had him missing the exhibition games, but being available when the regular season begins.
“I’m pretty anxious to get out there,” Parker said. “But you can’t do anything but be patient and wait until the time is right.”
And that depends largely on how quickly he can back to speed.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin suggested that, at this point in Parker’s rehab, it’s more a matter of conditioning and crispness than it is concern about how the foot will respond.
“We’ve got to get him some reps,” Philbin said. “Get him used to dipping in and out of the huddle, get the right split, get the right alignment, do the right adjustment versus press and cloud or off [coverage]. Understand where he fits in in the progression. All of those things that reps will provide. We’ll try to ramp that up as soon as we can.”
Even a few targeted snaps by Parker against the Redskins in the opener would be a boon to a first-team offense that scored four touchdowns in 10 preseason possessions.
Parker was the star of the spring, immediately becoming one of Ryan Tannehill’s favorite targets during organized team activities. The 14th pick in the draft possesses a set of skills -- size, speed and elusiveness -- that the Dolphins haven’t had in years.
The Dolphins’ offense is obviously better with Parker. And while Tannehill would love to have his No. 1 target of the future as soon as possible, he urged caution Monday.
“Injuries are tough,” Tannnehill said. “I’ve had a similar injury with my foot. I know what he’s going through and know the process. Excited to see him start moving around a little bit. I threw a few passes to him in pre-game so that’s exciting. That’s progress that I like seeing. You don’t want to push him too early where, we’ve got him back for the first game and then his foot breaks down and we don’t have him for the rest of the year.”
Tannehill’s foot surgery came between his senior year at Texas A&M and his rookie season with the Dolphins. It took him nearly four months to recover. Parker hopes to do it in a little over three.
“When I run my foot is feeling pretty good so I’m just glad about that,” Parker said. “Having no pain in it is a good thing. It’s a start.”
Pouncey, meanwhile, was in great spirits two days after a minor injury scare. He hurt his knee in Saturday’s preseason game, and underwent an MRI as a precaution.
The test came back negative, so Pouncey suited up for Monday’s practice — albeit with a massive brace on his left leg. Philbin said afterwards that Pouncey moved around well.
“A guy just got thrown into my leg while I was standing straight up, but it’s good,” said Pouncey, who said that he wasn’t nervous about the injury’s severity “until I saw the play. Once I saw the play, I was like, ‘Ah man, that could’ve been really bad,’ but God is with me, so we’re good.”
Pouncey will play in Week 1.
As for Albert? He’s still not ready to make that commitment.
There’s still a degree of doubt about his availability for the opener, but he scoffed at an ESPN report that listed him out until Week 3.
“If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth, it’s not true,” Albert said
So when will he play?
“We’ll see,” said Albert, who said his knee is strong structurally. “I don’t know yet, but we’ll see. I’m going to practice again today and we’ll see. We’ve got how many days, 13? So we’ll see in 13 days.”