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Xavien Howard returns for Dolphins’ Thursday practice, but Terron Armstead still not seen

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Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard returned to practice on Thursday, but left tackle Terron Armstead was still missing during the media viewing portion of drills.

Both missed Wednesday’s practice — Howard with a groin injury and Armstead still dealing with the toe ailment that he played through in Sunday’s 42-38 win against the Baltimore Ravens.

The two veterans, who have six Pro Bowls between them, are pivotal for the Dolphins (2-0) as they get set to host the Buffalo Bills (2-0) in a divisional matchup at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

Dolphins cornerbacks coach Sam Madison, speaking before Thursday practice, said he’s not worried about Howard’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

“You look around the league, there’s veteran maintenance days all around the league,” Madison said of his All-Pro’s Wednesday absence. “He’s a pro. He’s been through this before, and I’m looking forward to him [being] 100 percent.”

Howard will be the key in Miami’s efforts to limit Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs on Sunday.

Madison said he spoke with Howard about what he called “lackadaisical play as far as technique” on the 75-yard touchdown allowed to Ravens receiver Rashod Bateman last Sunday in Baltimore.

“After that, he went out there, he was confident, and he played extremely well toward the end of the game,” said Madison, adding that he teased Howard about dropping a potential pick-six that would’ve tied the game.

Dolphins offensive line coach Matt Applebaum said earlier Thursday that he was not surprised Armstead played through the toe injury in Baltimore, but now the Dolphins’ prized free-agent acquisition on the offensive line has missed two consecutive days of drills. Last week, he participated in Thursday’s session on a limited basis before playing.

“I felt pretty confident he would be able to play,” Applebaum said. “I mean, you’re talking about a pro’s pro. Guy’s been doing it a long time, knows his body, knows what he’s got to get out of any given week to be ready to play on Sunday.”

The Dolphins also remained without tight ends Cethan Carter (concussion protocol) and Hunter Long (ankle) at Thursday drills. Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr., who was limited in Wednesday’s practice, was still wearing a red, non-contact jersey on the practice field Thursday.

Bills updates

Buffalo is dealing with a significant injury list in its own right.

Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters in Buffalo on Thursday that safeties Micah Hyde (neck) and Jordan Poyer (foot), cornerback Dane Jackson (neck) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) all are missing Thursday practice.

Poyer sits out after being a limited participant in Wednesday drills. The other three also missed practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Gabe Davis (ankle) is among others with injury status to watch as he was limited on Wednesday.

More injury updates will be revealed with the team’s 4 p.m. injury report.

Dolphins HOF nominees

The NFL announced 129 modern-era nominees for the Hall of Fame 2023 class this week with Dolphins wide receivers coach Wes Welker among them.

“Definitely an honor just to be in the breath of the Hall of Fame,” Welker said. “We’ll see what happens. Just kind of focusing on Buffalo this week and let everything else take care of itself.”

Welker had most of his success with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, but he first made his mark with the Dolphins in his first three NFL seasons, from 2004 to 2006.

Other players with Dolphins ties to be nominated include linebacker Zach Thomas and offensive tackle Richmond Webb. Thomas has previously been a finalist.

The Hall of Fame 2023 class will be revealed during NFL Honors ahead of the Super Bowl and will be enshrined in August 2023.

This story will be updated.


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