Miami Dolphins

Andre Branch's knee is much improved. This is the Dolphins' plan to keep it that way

Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre speaks with reporters after the Dolphins OTA practice Wednesday.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre speaks with reporters after the Dolphins OTA practice Wednesday. snavarro@miamiherald.com

We might never know what exactly what was wrong with Andre Branch's knee in 2017.

We do know that, whatever the injury's nature, it was enough to sap Branch's productivity and needed to be fixed surgically back in January.

Five months later, Branch is back on the practice field — but still not saying what caused him such discomfort during much of last season.

"I’m not talking about last year," Branch said with a laugh. "I’m just here to get better."

Are you fully healthy now?

"I’m getting there," Branch said. "At the end of the day, you just keep getting better and keep on it and just follow the guidelines that the Dolphins want, and just go from there."

And your expectations for this coming season?

"Be at 100 percent."

Branch might get close, considering how fresh the Dolphins plan to keep their defensive linemen this fall. New defensive line coach Kris Kocurek wants to play eight, if not nine defensive lineman roughly the same number of snaps to keep each ready not just for the fourth quarter of games, but the fourth quarter of seasons.

So even if Branch does not start (which seems unlikely, with Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, William Hayes and Charles Harris all in the mix), he can expect plenty of (but not too much) exercise on Sundays.

"There’s a sense of urgency now," Branch said. "Last year was kind of complacent but for us, we know what we have. We can’t make excuses now. It’s time to really live up to that and put on."

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