The Miami Dolphins have placed two of the team's projected offensive starters on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and newly acquired tailback Knowshon Moreno will begin training camp, if not the 2014 NFL season on the PUP list. They will not be allowed to participate in practices or games until they are cleared medically by team doctors.
However, they can participate in rehab assignments with the team in Davie.
Pouncey had his left hip surgically repaired once the Dolphins concluded the team's minicamp in June, and Moreno, who had been limited by a knee injury all offseason, had his left knee scoped in late June.
Pouncey is expected to miss at least the first four games of the season because of his injury, and Moreno should be cleared to practice at some point during the exhibition season because he recovery time was estimated at four to six weeks.
However, it is likely that six-year veteran who served as a starter with the Broncos last season, will use the next five weeks to get in shape for the regular season.
Players placed on the PUP list can come off at any point before the 53-man roster is create the week before the season opener. However, if a player remains on the PUP list during the regular season he can't come off until week six of the NFL season.
If a player started on the Active/PUP list and isn't medically cleared by the end of the preseason, an NFL team may transfer them to the Active/PUP player to the Reserve/PUP.
These players are prevented from playing and practicing during the first six weeks of the season. What makes the Reserve PUP advantageous is that any player on the Reserve PUP list does not count against the 53-man roster. If a player isn't activated after the sixth week, the team has a three-week window to place him on injured reserve, release the player, or get him cleared to practice and play.
After the sixth week of the regular season the player can be active and play in a game.
The last time the Dolphins used the PUP list was to develop rookie tailback Jonas Gray for a season while he was rehabbing an ACL injury he suffered his senior season at Notre Dame.
Both Pouncey and Moreno count on the 90 player active roster for training camp.
Nate Garner filled in as the Dolphins' starting center for two games last season while Pouncey was sidelined by an illness, and the seven-year veteran has started 19 games as a key reserve during his Dolphins tenure. Shelley Smith, Sam Brenner and rookie Tyler Larsen will also compete to replace Pouncey as the Dolphins' starting center.
Lamar Miller, who rushed for 709 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns last season as Miami's starting tailback, remains in that role. The former University of Miami standout will need to outperform Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee to hold onto it for now.
Moreno will likely compete for the starting spot, or the role as Miami's third down back, once his knee gets healthy, and his conditioning is right.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun