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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – On day three of Miami Dolphins training camp, center Mike Pouncey put pads on for the first time in 2017.

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Pouncey returns from hip injuries that kept him sidelined for the majority of the 2016 season, including Miami’s playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Dolphins have preached a mantra of ‘sixteen-plus’ for Pouncey, hoping to field him for every regular season game along with potential playoff appearances.

Saturday marked a positive step in that direction. Pouncey worked drills early in practice with pads and a helmet.

To maintain his body for the regular season, coaches plan to use him sparingly during camp. South Florida sports fans recall a similar approach with hoops star Dwyane Wade during his later years with the Miami Heat.

Pouncey was cleared for practice before the start of training camp, but spent the first two days working cardio off to the side.

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On Saturday, head coach Adam Gase spoke on Pouncey’s day three involvement.

“We were trying to work him into some individual things,” Gase said, adding, “but we have some time limits there we need to stick to.  Any time (Pouncey) does anything, and we give him ten minutes, he finds a way to bring thirty minutes of work into those ten minutes.”

Gase and the offensive coaches watched Pouncey closely to make sure he didn’t over-work himself.

“He’ll (sometimes) go past what we want him to do. That’s why he is who he is and the kind of player he is.”

Pouncey is a three time pro bowler who adds attitude and leadership to Miami’s offensive line. Gase not only praised his ability to block into the second level when many others can’t, but detailed the effect he has on the O-line’s demeanor.

“There’s a huge calming effect that he has over the entire offense when he’s in there,” noted Gase. “You can tell that he’s doing something a little different than everyone else.”

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The Miami Dolphins resume camp with day four on Sunday, 8:45 AM, from the Team’s Davie, FL facility.