MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — For rehabbing players like Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey, there’s a big difference between being ready to return to practice and being ready to return to the starting lineup.

Ramsey checked off the first big box Wednesday, practicing for the first time in nearly three months. It was a remarkable recovery from what is usually at least a four-month injury.

But Ramsey on Wednesday very much looked like a guy who hadn’t practiced in three months, going through the drills that the team permitted the media to watch at less than full speed. Ramsey did get in on some team reps later in the practice, Tua Tagovailoa suggested, but presumably with the scout team.

So it was a no-brainer for head coach Mike McDaniel to rule Ramsey out for Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

But beyond that, nothing is impossible.

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Miami Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey Injury Update

A natural assumption — given the three-week practice window that just opened — is that the Dolphins planned to keep Ramsey out of the next three games and have him return after their Week 10 bye.

MORE: Miami Dolphins Depth Chart 2023

That would give Ramsey a full month to get back into football shape after a long layoff.

But McDaniel revealed that Ramsey might actually get back on the field before then — either against the Patriots in Week 8 or against the Chiefs in Week 9.

“I think it’s fair to say there’s a chance,” McDaniel said, when asked if Ramsey might return before the bye. “… You gotta take it one day at a time with those type of things. But I would say that I’m cautiously optimistic.”

That would be a huge lift for a Dolphins defense that could be without Xavien Howard this week (and potentially beyond) with a groin injury. Howard did not practice Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We’re fair but, you know, not aggressive on target dates,” McDaniel added. “He kept telling me he was an alien, so I’m starting to believe him. That’s a cool, cool thing for such a well-established player, at the top of his game, for the whole team to see, on how you attack things.

“… We’ll acquire information, but very optimistic it will be sooner than later.”

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Adam Beasley is Pro Football Network’s Director of Original Content and Brand Development. You can read all of Adam’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @AdamHBeasley.

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