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Injuries mounting for Dolphins; News, views from Wednesday's practice

Sixteen Dolphins notes, quotes, news items and observations from Wednesday at training camp:

### An upgraded Dolphins wide receiver unit continues to be beset by injuries, which has forced management to sign three players in the past four days.

At least four receivers have suffered injuries in camp, and Mike Wallace also stood on the sideline for all of team drills during Wednesday night’s practice, for reasons the team would not explain.

Wallace participated in individual drills and appeared to be moving normally. He did not need to do any rehab work during the scrimmage. So if there's an injury here -- and that's the sense we get -- it doesn't appear terribly serious. Coach Joe Philbin -- as is his policy --refused to discuss Wallace’s status or why he did not play in Monday’s scrimmage.

What’s more, Brian Hartline did not participate in Wednesday’s practice and appears to be nursing an injury to his lower leg, in the calf area. Hartline declined to discuss his injury, saying his absence from Monday’s scrimmage “was coach’s decision – nothing to do with me.” He missed all of preseason last year with a calf injury. The good news: This injury is not believed to be very serious.

While his teammates practiced Wednesday, Hartline did light running and leg exercises. With Hartline and Wallace out, Brandon Gibson and Marvin McNutt were the first-team receivers, and McNutt again was very good (more on him later).

### Meanwhile, Armon Binns – who entered camp as the likely No. 4 receiver -- was released by the Dolphins on Wednesday after suffering a season-ending knee injury during Sunday’s practice. Undrafted rookie Jasper Collins also was released after trying to play through a hamstring injury for a week.

And Rishard Matthews remains out with a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for a few weeks.

After signing undrafted former Louisville receiver Andrell Smith on Sunday, the Dolphins added two others on Wednesday: former Dolphin Julius Pruitt and Keenan Davis, who went undrafted out of Iowa. All three have good size; Smith and Davis are 6-3, Pruitt 6-2. Pruitt was terrific Wednesday night, catching a deep ball and a couple of other passes.

The Dolphins chose Pruitt and Davis over three others who auditioned: veteran receivers Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie and undrafted Oregon rookie Lavaiser Tuinei.

“We have a history with Julius – we’re glad to have him back,” Philbin said. “He’s a good player.”

Pruitt had three previous stints with the Dolphins and appeared in nine regular season games in 2011 but did not catch a pass. He was released before last season, which he called “heartbreaking.”

Pruitt, who had several catches in Wednesday’s practice, spent the 2012 regular season out of football, caring for his three-month old daughter, and no NFL team asked him to audition before the Dolphins called him this week. He said was “pretty nervous” before Tuesday’s workout.

“I had jitters,” he said. “Being out of football for a year, you don’t want to lose it again. I’m hungrier.”

Pruitt said “everything is familiar to me” about the team’s offensive system and “special teams is where I plan to make my mark.”

As for Davis, he caught 111 passes for 1459 yards and seven touchdowns at Iowa and signed with Cleveland after the draft but was released last week.

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster,” he said. “You have to start rethinking your approach in Cleveland.”

### Others in the mix for those final two receiver jobs, besides Davis and Pruitt: McNutt (who was very good in Wednesday’s practice --- including a one-handed catch in 7 on 7 work), Matthews, Smith, Chad Bumphis, Jeff Fuller (several catches but also a fumble forced by Dimitri Patterson), Brian Tyms (caught two deep balls Wednesday and had his best practice of camp) and Kenny Stafford. McNutt has emerged as a favorite of sorts for one of the last two spots.

And don't forget return specialist Marcus Thigpen, who had played mostly running back early in camp, but is now getting more work at receiver.

“I like everything he’s doing,” Philbin said. “I’m delighted with him. He has good hands, finds a way to get open.”

That praise was the curse of death --- Thigpen dropped an easy catch early in Wednesday's session. But he rebounded and had a decent practice.

### Philbin said he has an idea how much Dolphins starters will play in Sunday’s Hall of Fame game against Dallas in Canton, Oh., but declined to say.

Meanwhile, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett suggested he will primarily play Nick Stephens and Alex Tanney, who are battling for the No. 3 quarterback job, instead of starter Tony Romo and primary backup Kyle Orton. Garrett publicly hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Romo playing one series.

NBC assuredly will be thrilled having large doses of Nick Stephens vs. Pat Devlin.

### The Dolphins continued to mix and match on the offensive line during Wednesday’s practice, and the unit continued to struggle at times in pass protection and on some running plays, as well.

Nate Garner, Lance Louis and Josh Samuda all shared time with the first team at right guard. It was Louis’ first appearance with the first team since returning from last November’s knee injury as a member of the Chicago Bears, and he appeared rusty.

Meanwhile, Dallas Thomas – who had been playing guard – got work at both left and right tackle. Guard John Jerry remains out and isn't attending practice; a source said Jerry was on crutches recently, and he reportedly had arthroscopic knee surgery that will sideline him for a few weeks. And rookie guard Brian Thomas limped off with an injury Wednesday.

### For the second practice in a row, Matt Moore had an interception returned for a touchdown. This time, it was Philip Wheeler who got the pick, off a tip from Brent Grimes. Wheeler has been very good in pass coverage.

### Defensive tackle Paul Soliai tackled Lamar Miller for a safety on a drill from the Dolphins’ one-yard line. On the first team, Soliai was paired with Randy Starks, who continues to alternate with Jared Odrick.

### After beating Will Yeatman for a sack in Monday’s scrimmage, rookie Dion Jordan beat starting left tackle Jonathan Martin for two sacks in Wednesday’s practice.

Jordan said he played about 10 plays in Monday’s scrimmage: “I did alright. There’s a lot I need to improve on.”

Coach Joe Philbin said Jordan “has very good quickness off the ball. He’s playing a new position. It’s a brave new world for him.”

### Tannehill was so irritated by the protection (or lack thereof) that he threw the ball down after two sacks. Jordan, Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe all had sacks in a four play sequence. 

### Caleb Sturgis, out the previous four days with a groin injury, returned and kicked well, hitting several from 47 yards and then a 42-yarder to end the scrimmage. But he hit the upright from 43 yards. Dan Carpenter didn't attempt a field goal.

### Cornerback Jamar Taylor, out the past week with soreness from a sports hernia, returned to practice but was limited. Will Davis, who had picks in the previous two packages, was beaten on several passes across the middle tonight. Carroll was beaten deep, and Richard Marshall has had a very average camp. Bottom line: Patterson is latching onto the starting job opposite Grimes.

### Philbin said he told the team Wednesday that the tempo of the offense isn’t quite where he wants it: “I want to see our guys play fast and decisive.” Tempo was better Wednesday, but pass protection was not.

### Though an extra preseason game and the accompanying extra week of practice increase the risk of injuries, Tannehill said “it’s a good thing for this team to get an extra week of work. Get a lot of guys some reps.”

### Dion Sims joined Dustin Keller in two tight end sets with the starters. Michael Egnew appeared to be demoted to the group featuring mostly third and fourth teamers.

### Other highlights tonight: Les Robinson tackling Miller for a four-yard loss... Josh Kaddu had a sack... Daniel Thomas ran well.

### Tannehill has now gone six consecutive practices without an interception. “I definitely think I’m improving.  Have we made some mistakes? Yes. Have we made some bad throws? Yes. But we’re improving.” If only his receiving group was healthy....