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Mike Pouncey injury update: Pro Bowl center returns to practice for Dolphins

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey has spent the 2016 season watching the team from the sidelines as he rehabs a fractured hip sustained during the preseason. The three-time Pro Bowl lineman will take his first step toward returning to the lineup on Tuesday when he returns to practice with the team.

The Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley first reported Pouncey’s return to practice.

Pouncey has had injury issues since 2013, missing at least two games each year but still being selected to the Pro Bowl each of those seasons. He started all 32 games in his first two seasons with the Dolphins at center, then 14 games in 2013 at center before moving in 2014 to right guard where he started 12 games. In 2015 he returned to center and will resume his role as the starting center this season whenever he is fully cleared to play.

The team appears hopeful that that clearance will be as early as this week against the Tennessee Titans.

The Dolphins offensive line could use the boost a Pouncey return would mean. The offensive line struggled last week with several changes made due to injuries, including to starting Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and backup center, who was starting in place of Pouncey, Anthony Steen. If Pouncey is able to return to the Dolphins this week, it will solidify the center of the offensive line, while allowing Miami some flexibility with where to potentially play Steen if his ankle is fully recovered, as well as providing a strong run blocker in Pouncey back to the offense.

The Dolphins return home this week for just the second time in 2016, kicking off against the Titans at 1pm ET from Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.