Miami Dolphins quarterback David Garrard returned to practice today, while left tackle Jake Long and (possible) right guard John Jerry continued to rehab injuries. This is Garrard's first practice since udergoing knee surgery August 12.
According to the Miami Herald's Adam H. Beasley, Garrard warmed up with the team, threw some passes, and did the early drills, but sat out the 7-on-7 drills, at least while the media was there.
Garrard was home watching his kids in the family's backyard pool before the team's first preseason game. The veteran quarterback, who sat out all of the 2011 season following back surgery, turned to look at his kids, and felt something in his knee pop. Two days later, he had surgery.
The absence of Garrard, who was expected to be named the starter for the Dolphins this season, opened the door for rookie Ryan Tannehill to grab the top depth chart slot. Currently, the Dolphins have four quarterbacks on their roster, with Matt Moore and Pat Devlin joining Garrard and Tannehill.
If Garrard can prove he is healthy, it could make Moore expendable. NFL teams have reportedly already been calling the team to judge if there is any interest in trading the team's 2011 starting quarterback.
Long was injured in practice last week, when he sprained the MCL in his right knee. He sat out the team's final preseason game, but the team has said it expects the 4-time Pro Bowler to play in this week's season opener against the Houston Texans.
If Long is unable to play, the team could look to move rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin to left tackle. While the move would not be ideal, given the team's desire to convert Martin from the left tackle position he played in college, it may be the only choice the team has. Reserve lineman on the Miami roster right now include Nate Garner, who has struggle at left tackle in his career, Will Yeatman, who is converting from tight end to tackle this year and is not ready to fill in for Long, and undrafted free agent Josh Samuda, the team's backup center.
The team also has John Jerry, who has proven he can be a serviceable left tackle when needed, but Jerry is sitting out with Long. Jerry, whose injury has not been officially disclosed, has his right ankle heavily taped as he stands on the sideline during today's workouts.