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2 p.m. update: Oden takes big step; News, views from Dolphins' win; Canes additions

At a news conference in Indianapolis today, Greg Oden's physical therapist, Ralph Reiff, said he's "in full basketball mode" now. "There's no more rehab. He will be a basketball player on Monday."

Oden, 25, will fly to Miami at 6 a.m. Monday and immediately begin doing on-court work with the Heat, plus agility drills and more.

"My knee's good," he said. "I'm able to walk, jump, run.... It's been a while. It's been a long road.... I got an old body. My body is not going to be what it was when I was 18. When I was 18, I was able to run all day and jump over people. I can't do that now. It's just not going to happen. But I'm going to play as hard as I can and I'm going to try to jump over people and I'm going to try to run all day. If my body lets me, I'll do it."

He added: "My body is going to do what it can. If somehow it says no, then it says no. But I'm not even worried about that. I'm just going to go play and not even think about it.... I'm beyond excited. It's been such a long road.... I know it's going to be a long process."

Though he is taking a significant step, his agent said Friday it remains unclear when he will play in a game and it could be months into the season, depending on the decision of the Heat staff. Oden has spoken of playing in short intervals initially whenever he does return but has been non-committal about whether he will play opening night, Oct. 29 against the Bulls.

"It's still weird for me to say I'm a Miami Heat," Oden said. "If LeBron decides to get another ring, I get one now, too. Why would I not want to play with the champs?"

He said LeBron James texted with "Oden come here" messages before he signed, and a "be ready to work" message after he signed.

Oden said watching NBA TV motivated him to return to the court.

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Eighteen notes, thoughts and postscripts from the Dolphins’ 27-3 preseason win at Jacksonville:

### Ryan Tannehill played 17 snaps – three series that went nowhere and one impressive drive ending in a touchdown – and then implored everyone not “to read too much into the negative things or the positive things.” He seems mystified why every first team snap is being so heavily scrutinized. (Human nature, Ryan.)

Tannehill’s final drive – including the 22-yard TD pass to Dustin Keller – turned what would have been a disappointing night into an acceptable one, and he closed 5 for 9 for 75 yards. But Tannehill was the NFL’s worst quarterback statistically on third downs last season, and that remained an issue Friday, partly due to Tannehill not having enough time to throw.

The Dolphins failed on their first three third down attempts. Tannehill scrambled for two yards on the first attempt when his protection broke down; threw behind Lamar Miller on the next; and was flushed from the pocket and threw an errant pass to Charles Clay on the third.

### If there were a regular season game, fans would have every right to question not throwing deep to Mike Wallace. But the second preseason game, including Wallace’s first? Sorry – I can’t get too worked up about it.

“We definitely have to build some more confidence, more trust, to know where I want to be,” Wallace said of his relationship with Tannehill.

### Jonathan Martin played decently at left tackle, just as he did last season against Jacksonville, but the Dolphins need to find a capable veteran backup somewhere. Mike Adams seems ill-equipped for the job. Dallas Thomas moved to right tackle and played decently after last week’s implosion at left tackle. “We’re still a little out of sync,” Martin said.

### Josh Samuda struggled against Sen’Derrick Marks and right guard remains a huge concern. Lance Louis’ knee still isn’t 100 percent, and he didn’t suit up – which is troubling because the Dolphins hoped Louis would be fine by now and also hoped he would become the starter. John Jerry also continues to work his way back from his knee issue.

### Brian Tyms (2 for 34) and Chad Bumphis (2 for 26) had the best nights of the fringe receivers, though Bumphis also fumbled a punt that the Dolphins were fortunate to recover. Keenan Davis, who drew praise from Joe Philbin last week, didn’t catch a pass. Marvin McNutt caught one for seven, but at least he didn’t drop one this week.

### Dannell Ellerbe was active and impactful in his snaps, and the first-team defense allowed only 14 yards in their three series. Blaine Gabbert departed with a 16.7 quarterback rating.

### The Dolphins continue to rotate Dimitri Patterson with Richard Marshall opposite Brent Grimes. Patterson has had the better camp and broke up a pass on third down on Jacksonville’s first series. But Marshall has improved the last week after a shaky start to camp.

### With Friday’s interception, Will Davis continues to make a strong case for playing time. The question is whether coaches are comfortable enough with him to move him past Nolan Carroll as the team’s fourth cornerback when the regular season starts. Carroll also had a pick Friday off a deflection.

“Best part of that interception tonight was seeing smiles on veterans’ faces,” Davis tweeted. “They let me know I belong. So thank you.” Davis has had more than a half dozen picks in practice.

### Jason Trusnik, Jonathan Freeney and Austin Spitler worked as the primary backup linebackers, and Spitler seemed frozen on a run when Jordan Todman burst past him. Spitler has managed to make the team for four years largely because of his special teams’ acumen, but he faces stiffer competition this preseason.

### Jonas Gray, who scored on two one-yard runs, has the skill set to be a potentially effective short yardage back. But that alone likely won’t be enough to win him a roster spot, because the Dolphins believe Daniel Thomas can handle that role. Gray finished with 32 yards on 14 carries, Mike Gillislee 37 yards on 12 carries.

### Thomas had strong 8 and 9 yard runs on the scoring drive engineered by Tannehill, while Lamar Miller had a nondescript night (two carries, six yards). Dolphins officials are much higher on Thomas’ potential than some fans are.

### Among fringe defensive players, former Baylor tackle Tracy Robertson played much better than a week ago, and undrafted Fresno State rookie Tristan Okpalaugo had a sack after forcing a fumble last week. Linebacker Les Robinson also flashed.

### At this point, it would be shocking if Caleb Sturgis isn’t the kicker. His 58-yard field goal would have been the third-longest in franchise history if this had been a regular-season game. Dan Carpenter owns the record with a 60-yarder vs. Cleveland in 2010.

### Matt Moore’s interception dropped his quarterback rating to 35.6. He finished 5 for 9 for 58 yards. Pat Devlin was 5 for 8 for 45 yards. All three Dolphins quarterbacks completed five passes.

### This will please Joe Philbin: The Dolphins were plus three in turnovers.

### Dion Jordan, again playing on third downs, had a quiet night, with just one assisted tackle. The Dolphins have given no indication that they intend to use him on first down.

### The Jaguars are a mess. (Former UM assistant Jedd Fisch is running perhaps the most talent-deprived offense in the NFL.) Their best receiver, Justin Blackmon, is suspended the first four games and made matters worse by engaging in a verbal altercation with Nolan Carroll, then bickering with teammate Jason Babin after Babin suggested he ought not trash talk. Maurice Jones Drew then escorted Blackmon from the field, and coach Gus Bradley scolded him after the game.

HEAT NOTE

As expected, Heat second-round pick James Ennis signed to play overseas. His contract with a team in Australia will allow him to come to the Heat at any point next season, without penalty, if the Heat chooses, which seems unlikely. The Heat will continue to retain his NBA rights.

CANES NOTE

As expected, UM announced it has added defensive ends David Gilbert (Wisconsin) and Justin Renfro (Virginia). Gilbert was a starter at Wisconsin and honorable mention All Big 10. Renfro was a backup at Virginia. Both graduated from their former schools and are eligible to play immediately.

Check back later for a lot more Canes, plus Dolphins, Heat and Marlins in the Sunday buzz.

 

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