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Branden Albert update; More Philbin changes; Ross on HBO's Ballers; UM/MLS stadium

Here are some notes after the first day of Dolphins practice. Please check back in a few hours for a lot more, including position by position Dolphins updates.

Though the Dolphins remain quite optimistic that left tackle Branden Albert will be healthy for the Sept. 13 regular season opener at Washington, Albert was non-committal about that on Thursday.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be quite ready for the opener. I don’t know yet,” he said. “I told everybody it’s going to be sooner than later. I’m ahead of schedule. We don’t want to push it too much. This is a good starting point. I’m happy to be where I’m at. Each and every day, I’m getting better.”

The Dolphins hope he can play in preseason but Albert said he doesn’t know if that’s going to happen, either.

But there’s one thing he is sure about: "I’m fully, fully confident I’ll be the player I was.”

Albert, whose practice participation Thursday was limited to the initial walk-through, said he feels no pain in his surgically-repaired right knee and the challenge is getting back “into football shape, getting my strength in my leg. All the little stuff in rehab, all that is over with. It’s more transition now.”

He said his recovery from the ACL and MCL tears has “been a long, long road. I’m just happy I’m not on the PUP list. I’m just happy I can be involved with the team and not off on the side any more like a stepchild.”

He said “the most challenging” part of the recovery “was learning how to walk, learning how to do the simple things I’ve been doing all my life. I was on crutches for three months. That was the hardest part. All the little things I couldn’t do. I told people I didn’t think I was going to play football again.”

### Joe Philbin said he’s not concerned about DeVante Parker starting training camp on PUP. “I like what’s he doing; he’s going to be an excellent football player here for a long time,” Philbin said.

Parker’s agent, James Gould, has said he will be shocked if Parker isn’t ready for the Sept. 13 opener.

### In an attempt to reverse the team’s penchant for late-season swoons, Philbin has slightly shortened training camp practices and implemented other changes, including giving the team off Tuesdays during the regular season instead of Fridays.

“This is the most efficient training camp that we’ve ever had in terms of the way the schedule is,” he said. “The reps are down a little bit, not considerably. Practices are a little bit shorter. All of this stuff, we think it’s going to add up. We’re not here to take shortcuts, because we all know that to win championships, it’s not going to be easy. I think we have better information to make good decisions about what our team does in the future.”

The Dolphins lost three of their final four games last season and have gone 3-9 in their final two games over the past six years (the last three of those seasons under Philbin).

“We want to peak late,” receiver Jarvis Landry said.

### Dolphins owner Stephen Ross doesn’t seem particularly impressed by Ballers, the fictional HBO series that stars Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and often mentions the Dolphins and “Mr. Ross.”

Said Ross: “I saw one episode. I wasn't overwhelmed by it. It's really crazy, with all they're trying [to] glamorize something about football that's not really real life….  I know my name is used.”

Though the show already has been renewed for a second season, Ross said: “You haven't heard much about it from the fans. You haven't seen much. I don't think the show is going too far.”

Asked if HBO received permission to use the Dolphins’ logo (which the network has done), Ross said: “We're having conversations. It's noted, let's put it that way.”

Please see Adam Beasley's story on the home page for all of Ross' other comments today. 

### Cameron Wake returned alive and unscathed after taking a picture with an uncaged, non-sedated tiger on his recent trip to Thailand.

“It’s probably more dangerous what we do out here,” he said. “Tremendous animal. The power is amazing. I feel I can relate a little bit.”

### The chances of a joint UM/MLS joint stadium venture appear to have diminished, with MLS voicing its preference for a 25,000-seat stadium --- 15,000 seats smaller than UM would accept, at bare minimum.

But even if UM and David Beckham’s group reach an agreement, we were reminded today that UM’s lease with Sun Life Stadium --- which has 17 years left --- remains an obstacle.

Asked about former UM president Donna Shalala’s stated preference to leave Sun Life Stadium, Ross said: “They have a long term contract and I expect them to live up to that contract.”

When I asked Ross if he would entertain a financial buyout from UM if it gets to that point, he said: "Yes, if the number is right. Certainly. I don’t see that happening.” 

Please check back in a few hours for a lot more Dolphins on-field stuff from today, Heat, Canes and Marlins.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz