A calf injury has sidelined Miami Dolphins pass rusher Charles Harris for the past month, but it appears the team’s 2017 first-round pick is close to making his return.
Harris, who injured the muscle in his lower right leg during a practice leading up to Miami’s 31-28 overtime win over the Chicago Bears, participated in his first practice in weeks Thursday, and appears to have his explosive first step back, based on limited work he’s been doing.
Getting Harris back would provide reinforcement to Miami’s defensive line, which has been thinned out by injuries this season. His return would give Miami a pass-rushing specialist to pair with Cameron Wake on obvious passing downs.
Harris has contributed 11 tackles this season. Last year, he had 19 tackles and two sacks as a rookie.
The Dolphins have struggled to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks this season, logging 15 sacks in nine games, which ranks Miami 29th in sack production. The Dolphins also rank 29th in sacks per pass play.
The Dolphins lost William Hayes to a season-ending knee injury against Oakland, and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor to a season-ending foot injury in Houston. Wake and Andre Branch have also missed games because of knee injuries this season, but both have been playing the past few weeks. Last week, Wake registered two of Miami’s four sacks against the Jets.
Dolphins offensive tackles continue to practice
Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, the Dolphins’ starting left and right tackle, continued to practice despite nursing knee injuries that limited their play last week.
Tunsil hurt his left knee and James hurt his right knee in Miami’s 13-6 win over the New York Jets. While both are limping round the facility, it’s possible that Miami would prefer to play them at less than 100 percent instead of using their backups,Zach Sterup and Sam Young, against the Packers in Sunday’s road game.
The last time Sterup and Young played, they each struggled. Sterup allowed three sacks against the Jets while playing for Tunsil and James, and Young allowed one sack while replacing Tunsil during Miami’s 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ted Larsen, the Dolphins’ starting left guard, also has been limited for the past two practices because of a neck issue.
Receiver Kenny Stills, who is nursing a groin injury, participated in his second straight practice. Stills played against the Jets and caught one pass for 19 yards….
Jakeem Grant, the Dolphins primary returner, has been nursing an Achilles injury that has limited his practice participation the past two days….
Frank Gore, who leads the Dolphins with 438 yards on 104 carries, had his normal Thursday rest day.