Center Mike Pouncey, the anchor to the Miami Dolphins offensive line since 2011, next week will have the hip that forced him to miss all but five games last year examined one more time before the start of training camp with the hope he’ll be cleared to join teammates in practice when those drills begin July 27.
Pouncey has suffered no setbacks with his hip rehabilitation since going on injured reserve last year and both the player and the team are “confident” the exam will yield positive findings, according to those familiar with the situation.
Positive finding by doctors would ordinarily mean Pouncey could avoid going on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list prior to the start of camp.
But Pouncey’s history with hip injuries, the fact he has not practiced at all since last November, and other factors, will weigh on the decision whether to put Pouncey on PUP even if he is cleared. That decision is not yet solidified one way or another and won’t be until after Pouncey’s scheduled medical exam.
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Regardless of what official roster status Pouncey is designated with at the start of camp, it is certain he will not be practicing very often or very long during training camp. He probably will not get many live snaps in the preseason. And even when the regular-season begins Pouncey is not expected to practice very often during the week.
That part is not news. Coach Adam Gase has been joking since the spring that he might deploy “bubble wrap” around Pouncey to protect the prized offensive lineman from injury.
But those familiar with the plans for Pouncey believe the coach wasn’t kidding about limiting Pouncey’s injury exposure.
The team’s 2017 goal for Pouncey is to have him play in 16 games and if that means he doesn’t practice a lot, so be it.
I’m hearing Pouncey gave the team confidence about this planned approach last year when he first injured the left hip in the preseason and didn’t practice or play until October 9 against Tennessee. The week prior to his debut against Tennessee Pouncey practiced a couple of days and coaches thought he performed as if he hadn’t missed a repetition the previous two months.
Pouncey has been plagued by injuries in recent years, including injuries to both hips which required surgery. Pouncey last played all 16 regular-season games in 2012, his second season in the NFL.
The news was not quite as cheerful for rookies Eric Smith and De’Veon Smith when they reported to camp Thursday. The two undrafted players will be placed on PUP following their physicals. Dolphins rookies reported to camp a week in advance of the veterans for conditioning and meetings but are not practicing.
Veterans report July 26 and the first practice for all players is the next day.
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Training camp schedule
The Dolphins will hold 13 training camp practices that are open to the public for free. To reserve a ticket, you must go to www.miamidolphins.com/trainingcamp.
If bad weather forces the team into the practice bubble, those dates will not be open to the public. Dates and times are subject to change. You can find updates at miamiherald.com, dolphins.com/trainingcamp or call 954-452-7004.
Training camp practices will be held at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
▪ Training camp schedule: Thursday: 8:20 a.m.; Friday: 8:20 a.m.; Saturday: 8:20 a.m.; Sunday, July 30: 8:20 a.m.; Monday, July 31: 8:20 a.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 2: 8:45 a.m.; Thursday, Aug. 3: 8:20 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 4: 8:20 a.m.; Monday, Aug. 7: 8:45 a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 8: 8:20 a.m.; Sunday, Aug. 13: 8:20 a.m.; Monday, Aug. 14: 8:20 a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 15: 8:20 a.m.