DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins' trainers have been consistently turning up the volume on Mike Pouncey's rehab assignment.
The Dolphins' Pro Bowl center is now running on his surgically repaired hip, and his steady progress has him optimistic that if he doesn't suffer a setback he can participate in the Dolphins' Sept. 7 season opener against the New England Patriots.
Of course, Pouncey has little say on this matter. His labrum injury needs to be medically cleared by team doctors. But Pouncey, a three-year starter, is certain he's ahead of schedule on what's considered to be a two- to three-month rehab program.
"I'm already ahead of schedule. My goal is to not miss anything," Pouncey said. "I'm trying to be smart about it so I don't have any relapses when I come back. I'm just going to listen to the team doctors and 1/8coach Joe3/8 Philbin. Whenever they tell me I'm ready to go, I'm going."
The Dolphins have placed Pouncey on the PUP list, and have some tough decisions to make regarding his roster status in a month. They can leave Pouncey on the Active/PUP list if he's not ready to play in the opener or during the season's first month. But that would mean Pouncey wouldn't be eligible to practice or play until after week six.
It also means the first game Pouncey would be able to play in is the Oct. 21 road game against the Chicago Bears.
The Dolphins have spent the past two weeks experimenting with center options -- trying out Shelley Smith, Sam Brenner, Nate Garner and David Arkin -- but weren't pleased with what they saw, so veteran center Samson Satele was signed on Saturday.
Satele openly admits his goal is to hold down the fort until Pouncey gets back on the practice field.
(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services