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Arian Foster preparing for return

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster has been sidelined for the last month with groin and hamstring issues could be ready to play this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Multiple mead reports have all indicated that Foster is practicing with the team Wednesday, and is expected to be available on Sunday. The Dolphins (1-4) are hosting the Steelers (4-1) in the second of a four-game homestand for the South Florida franchise.

Foster, who joined the Dolphins as a free agent this year, is a four-time Pro Bowl selection in his eight-year career. He was undrafted out of Tennessee, signing with the Houston Texans in 2009, beginning his career as a practice squad player before making six appearances, with one start, as a rookie. He led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns in his second season, being named to the Pro Bowl and being a First-Team All-Pro selection. He led the league in carries and rushing touchdowns in 2012, the third of his Pro Bowl seasons. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

Injuries have been the story of Foster’s career the last few seasons, however. He has not played in all 16 games in a season since 2012, and has only accomplished that twice in his career. In 2013, he played in just eight games, then missed three games in 2014, 12 games in 2015, and three games thus far this season.

Foster was named the Dolphins starting running back before the regular season began, carrying the ball 13 times in the team’s Week 1 contest against the Seattle Seahawks. He picked up 38 yards in the game, plus caught three passes for 62 yards. In Week 2 against the New England Patriots, Foster carried the ball just three times for nine yards before he had to leave the game due to injury.

Without Foster in the lineup, Miami has rotated through Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams, and Isaiah Pead at running back. Ajayi started last week against the Tennessee Titans and received the majority of the carries, the first time the team has tried to use primarily one running back during the game, rather than a revolving door of guys in and out of each contest.

Pead was released this week as one of a series of roster moves the team completed.

Foster returning to the lineup could be one of the many sparks the Dolphins need to fix an ailing offense this year. He brings a veteran’s knowledge back to the lineup and gives the team a proven weapon out of the backfield, both running and pass catching. Foster likely is not 100 percent, however, and the Dolphins will need Ajayi, Drake, and Williams ready to play to keep Foster fresh - and healthy - against the Steelers.

The Dolphins will release their first injury report of the week later today. Foster will likely be listed as “limited” on the report - a designation which can be used for any player who completes at least one drill during the practice but does not complete every drill - but indications early in the week seem to say Miami will have Foster as they face the Steelers’ fifth-ranked rush defense, allowing just 77.0 yards per game on the ground this year.