Mike Pouncey declared himself ready after a short stint

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Cam Newton‘s not the only one recovering from a long injury with a short preseason.

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey made a cameo during last night’s touchdown drive, playing about a dozen snaps after recovering from the chronic hip problems that plagued him last year.

“The plan’s been so good so far that whatever plays they told me, I told them I don’t even want a play count,” Pouncey said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Whenever you’re done, you see what you want to see pull me out of the game. That’s what they did. We went out and scored a touchdown.”

Getting Pouncey back is a good first step for an offensive line that’s as much of a question as replacement quarterback Jay Cutler.

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil had an ugly whiff which led to a sack-fumble, and right tackle Ja’Wuan James had a few rough moments of his own. Right guard Jermon Bushrod‘s playing through a minor injury, and they’re still holding a competition for the left guard job, with Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis splitting reps with the starters.

“It’s always different when Big Mike is in there,” running back Jay Ajayi said. “He changed that whole dynamic. He’s a vocal leader up there with those guys. His physicality as well, and his aggressiveness. I think all of them feed off of him, and myself as well. I always love having him in there.”

But unlike Newton, there was no equivocation about next week, as Pouncey’s already hit fast forward to the regular season.

“Even if I wasn’t worried about injury about injury, I ain’t playing in the fourth preseason,” Pouncey said. “I don’t play in those games.”

Neither do most regulars, but the Dolphins have a small sample size on which to base their faith in the cornerstone of their line.