According to Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley, “Training camp is the more realistic goal for Pouncey, but there’s a chance the Dolphins start him out on the physically unable perform list even then”.
There are two types of Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) lists. One is the Active/PUP, the other is the Reserve/PUP. Per SB Nation, “The Active/PUP is only used in the preseason. The Active/PUP designation is used for players who are unable to start training camp. Once these players are medically cleared, they can immediately join team practices.
The Reserve/PUP is the regular season equivalent of the Active/PUP, but with slightly different rules. A player on the Active/PUP list automatically moves to Reserve/PUP at the end of training camp, provided he hasn't practiced with the team. Once a player moves off the Active/PUP list during camp and starts practicing, he is automatically ineligible for Reserve/PUP.
Complicating things is the fact that once a player is moved to Reserve/PUP, he is automatically excluded from practicing or playing with the team for the first six weeks of the season.
The benefit of placing a player on Reserve/PUP is that the player won't count against the 53-man roster limit. Teams have a six-week window (day after Week 6 to day after Week 11) during which the player can return to practice. If the player is not ready by then, the player either has to be released or moved to season-ending IR. Once a player returns to practice, teams have an extra three-week window before they have to activate the player to the 53-man roster (or release or IR him).”
This could spell trouble for the Miami Dolphins. If the team does eventually put Pouncey on the Active/PUP list, they better hope he is ready by the end of training camp or it would mean losing their elite center for the first 6 weeks of the 2017 season. In 2016, the Dolphins went 1-3 in their first 4 games without Pouncey and experienced multiple protection issues in those games.
The soon-to-be 28 year old center has so far been sidelined during the Dolphins OTA’s as part of Adam Gase’s “Bubble-Wrap” Plan to bring him along after placing him on the Injury-Reserve list in Week 15 of the 2016 regular season. The theory is to let him heal and rehab as much as he can before finally putting him on the field.
Pouncey suffered another hip injury last preseason, returned in Week 5, but suffered another setback when he experienced flaring in his hip in Week 9 against the San Diego Chargers. This caused him to miss another 4 games until the Dolphins decided to shut him down.
The history of the center’s hip injuries dates back to 2014 when Mike Pouncey was forced to miss the first 4 games of the regular season due to surgery on a torn labrum. Since signing his 5-year/$52.15 million extension with the Dolphins in April of 2015, he has missed a total of 13 games.
Here's to hoping Pouncey doesn't begin the 2017 season on the bench.