DOLPHINS GETTING HEALTHY

After injuries dominated the headlines throughout training camp and the preseason, the Dolphins have begun their preparations for Sunday's opener at Tennessee with almost a full squad.<P>Several prominent players have resumed practicing after missing most, if not all, of the preseason, with the list including such notable players as Patrick Surtain, Daryl Gardener, Tim Bowens and rookie linebacker Morlon Greenwood.<P>

Also practicing again is running back J.J. Johnson. Coach Dave Wannstedt said Monday that Johnson "is almost there" in terms of his recovery from a knee injury he sustained in the preseason opener against St. Louis.

As for Surtain, he made a lot of plays during practice on Monday. He, too, is coming back from a knee injury.

The only question surrounding Surtain is whether he will slide inside to the slot in the nickel defense or remain on the outside. But he will be in the starting lineup opposite Sam Madison in the opener against the Titans.

The same goes for Gardener and Dixon, who both sat out the preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings after getting an epidural to help their aching backs.

Greenwood has finally made it back from the foot injury that has sidelined him since early in training camp, and he could wind up playing on special teams Sunday night at Tennessee.

Don't be surprised if Greenwood, who has done nothing but impress Dolphins coaches every time he's been on the field, winds up in the starting lineup on defense before too long.

The only player on the active roster who appears definitely out for the Tennessee game is wide receiver Dedric Ward, who is still not fully recovered from the stress fracture in his foot. He's shooting for the Sept. 16 game against Buffalo.

Safety Shawn Wooden, who aggravated a hamstring problem Friday night against Minnesota, is a question mark. He didn't practice on Monday, but the Dolphins are hoping he'll be ready to work out on Wednesday.


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