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Left tackle Terron Armstead returns to the practice field

Miami’s franchise left tackle was held out of practice for over a month.

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It would be fitting if No. 72 returned to the lineup while the franchise honored the 1972 undefeated season on Sunday night.

The team’s franchise tackle, Terron Armstead. returned to the practice field on Thursday. While he was limited by a toe injury he suffered back in Week 1, it’s somewhat of a milestone as it’s the first time he participated in practice, according to the weekly injury reports, in over a month.

Armstead left Miami’s loss to the Jets after playing eight snaps and was not active for last week’s game against the Vikings. It’s important to keep in mind that Armstead played all but two snaps in the season’s first four games — and is yet to surrender a sack.

“Still dealing with it for sure,” Armstead said of the injury when meeting with the media on Thursday. “Was able to go out there day. It was just great being out there with the team, get some practice in and get some work in. I’m still taking a day at a time.

“So it’s painful, for sure. It kind of started being a little bit more than that, though. Like a little lack of function made it hard to do my job. I couldn’t use it at a point so it just wasn’t smart to try to keep going. Give it some time and we’re still working.”

Armstead stayed in New York after the Jets game to meet with specialists.

“We got a lot of information,” he said. “We tried to take some steps to move forward. It’s getting better. It’s getting better and improving. Just go out, play football and you deal with it. It’s been a challenge.”

But with his return to practice, things seem to be headed in the right direction for the 10-year professional.

“It was great being back out there,” Armstead said. “This is what I do for a living. So running around with the guys, get some reps in, fine-tuning some stuff, techniques. I haven’t practiced in a month. I haven’t practiced since the Patriots game, which is crazy. So man, in-season I’m playing games, but I’m still knocking rust off, getting technique right, fine-tuning. So I need to practice as much as possible.”

Brandon Shell has played at left tackle in Armstead’s absence and there's been a bit of a learning curve for the seven-year veteran. Shell, who played four years with the Jets and two with the Seahawks, has played 59 snaps at left tackle this season. In his six seasons and 3,909 snaps prior to joining the Dolphins, Shell played just 85 snaps at left tackle, with the rest coming at right tackle.

Through roughly a third of the season, Miami’s offense ranks No. 21 with an average of 2.5 sacks allowed per game. The return of Armstead could be the edge coach Mike McDaniel’s offense needs on Sunday night against a Pittsburgh defense that gets to the quarterback two times per game, which is tied for No. 21 in the NFL with the Dolphins.