After undergoing knee surgery eight months ago, Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard will continue to rehab as training camp begins.
The Dolphins placed Howard on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) Tuesday, the first day veterans were due to report to the team’s facility for COVID-19 testing.
That means Howard, 27, cannot practice until cleared by team medical personnel and may attend team meetings and work out. Once he practices, he gets taken off the list. If Howard finishes training camp on the PUP list, he’ll be placed on the regular-season list, which does not allow him to practice or play the first six weeks of the season.
Howard, 6-foot-1, 198-pounds, was named the team MVP in 2018 after recording 35 total tackles, seven interceptions, and a fumble recovery. However, the 2018 Pro Bowl selection was unable to build off his momentum in 2019 and was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury following a Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Howard, who is under contract with the Dolphins until 2024, is poised for another year of stardom as he’ll pair up with free-agent signing Byron Jones in the secondary. But first, Howard will have to be cleared by Miami’s medical staff.
“He [Howard] looks to be on track and I would expect him to be ready when the season starts”, former Miami Hurricanes cornerback Chad Wilson told the Miami Herald.
Miami also put linebacker Calvin Munson the active/non-football injury list (NFI).
The NFI list is for players who are unable to practice at the start of training camp due to an injury that’s unrelated to NFL football. The rules on when a player on the NFI can get back to the field are the same as for those on the PUP list.
Munson, who signed with the Dolphins in December 2019, played in two games Dolphins last season, recording seven tackles (five solo).
The non-football injury list is for players who suffer an injury not related to NFL football or and keeps players from practicing at the start of training camp. The NFI covers injuries sustained during a player’s final college football season.
The roster stands at 78 players with the moves Tuesday, but will rise to 81 once Blake Ferguson, Benito Jones and Cordea Tankersley come off the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’ll climb to 83 players once/if Howard and Munson are reactivated. Miami will have to trim their roster to 81 by August 16.
Teams could have up to 90 players in camp if they split practice sessions into two squads, which could require teams to use both stadium and regular practice facilities, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.