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Mario Williams returns to practice, questionable for Sunday

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams appears to be on the verge of clearing the league’s concussion protocol as he returned to being a full participant in practice on Friday. The team has officially listed him as questionable for the game on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Williams was injured against the Seattle Seahawks last week and entered the league’s concussion protocol. That involves passing progressive tests to ensure his brain is fully healed from the trauma it sustained. The tests must be conducted by a neutral doctor outside of the team doctors, though the team doctors do also have say in when he is ready to return.

After practice on Friday, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase explained that Williams is not officially cleared of the concussion protocol, but that he was allowed to practice. The team is not sure if Williams will be available on Sunday.

With Williams a full participant in practice, it appears he may be ready for the Patriots game if the concussion clearance is received. That will be good news for the Dolphins, who will be looking to put pressure on Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be starting for just the second time in his career. The Dolphins will likely start Williams and Jason Jones, with Cameron Wake rotating into the game for Jones in passing situations. Miami can also use Andre Branch in the rotation, as well as Terrence Fede, if the team keeps him active this week. Fede and Jones could also be asked to assist at defensive tackle, where the team had Earl Mitchell land on injured reserve this week due to a calf injury.