Dion Jordan injury: Will the defensive end be ready for season opener?

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins traded up to the third overall pick in last April's draft to secure defensive end Dion Jordan. Over the last few weeks, the team has held their prized draft pick out of practices and games as he continues to rehab his shoulder. Will he be ready for the season opener next weekend?

The NFL preseason is officially complete, with last night's final slate of games.  The regular season kicks off in six days, with the Miami Dolphins taking the field against the Cleveland Browns in nine days.  Although the Dolphins still have roster cuts and a practice squad to put together, one of the major questions still floating around the team is whether or not third overall pick, defensive end Dion Jordan, will be ready for the trip to Cleveland.

The Dolphins traded up in the first round to get Jordan, sending their first and second round picks to the Oakland Raiders to land in the third overall position.  Jordan was coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, keeping him from practicing early in training camp.

He eventually did return to full workouts, but then ended up missing the last few weeks of camp and the last three preseason games, as the team protected the shoulder.  Of course, how badly the shoulder is right now is not known. The team won't discuss the injury, and we have not seen anything from Jordan lately.  Will he be ready for opening day?

"If they need me to play, then I will be out there. I can play," Jordan told the media this week.

During a conference call with season ticket holders this week, Head Coach Joe Philbin agreed that Jordan was getting close to returning.  "You're going to see a lot of him in the next couple of weeks," Philbin stated.

Jordan was back at practice this past week, leading up to last night's game.  However, the media is only able to watch the first portion of practice, so how much Jordan is practicing is not known.  Jordan did not play against the Saints, but nearly all of the starters and major second stringers sat out the game as well.

The Dolphins are not looking to Jordan to be a starting defensive end yet, letting Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon hold on to those positions.  But, he will be used as a pass rush specialist, and will be able to have an impact on the game from that role, assuming he is healthy.

All signs seem to be pointing to a Week 1 return for Jordan.  Hopefully, that's what we see.

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