The Dolphins were off on Tuesday, but this could be a big week for offensive tackle Mark Dixon. The veteran hasn't played all season because of an ankle injury, but, as he says, he's finally seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel."

Dixon is hoping to start practicing this week and is hoping that a couple of weeks will get ready to make his 2003 season. His target date is the Oct. 19 game against New England, which follows Sunday's battle at Jacksonville.

"I just want to be able to come back and contribute at some level," Dixon said. "It's been a long time since I've played football. I have to get to a point wheren I can play the game and hopefully that will be next week.

"That's my goal. I think I honestly have a shot. Maybe it's the first time in my mind that I believed that I've got a shot to come back."

That's because it's the first time in a while Dixon has been pain-free.

He underwent surgery during training camp to clean out his right ankle, but still was experiencing pain. And it reached the point that Dixon knew something had to be done.

So he had a second operation on the ankle, and it now looks like things might finally be looking up.

In other news:

The Dolphins put rookie safety Yeremiah Bell on the practice squad injured list, and replaced him with wide receiver Ronald Bellamy, who was with the team during training camp.

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