Dolphins DT Earl Mitchell on track to play season opener

Earl Mitchell isn't playing Thursday, but it won't be long before he returns. (Getty Images)
Earl Mitchell isn’t playing Thursday, but it won’t be long before he returns. (Getty Images)

ORLANDO—The Dolphins have been without possible starting defensive tackle Earl Mitchell the past two weeks, but coach Adam Gase isn’t concerned about his availability once the season begins. Mitchell will miss Thursday’s game against the Falcons because of a lingering calf injury, but could be back to full-go within a week.

“I think we’re on pace to where we feel good about that first game of the year,” Gase said Tuesday. “I think there would be a chance we could say (he could play in) that fourth preseason game, but a guy with his experience and knowledge of this defense, I think we feel pretty good about what he can do on the field. That’s not really a question.

“It’s just about getting him as close to 100 percent as we possibly can before the first game.”

Jordan Phillips has been working as the starter in Mitchell’s absence and has a chance at retaining that job after Mitchell’s return. Phillips (6-foot-6, 335 pounds) has shown surprising mobility and endurance in practice thus far.

Mitchell, a seventh-year veteran, started 12 games at tackle for Miami last season and went into training camp expected to be the starter. He has yet to appear in a preseason game.

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