Ryan Tannehill took a positive step forward on Friday.
The Miami Dolphins quarterback returned to practice as a limited participant for the first time since sustaining a knee injury on Dec. 11.
Coach Adam Gase told reporters that Tannehill "did some work" in practice. Gase added Tannehill threw with the scout team.
Tannehill being able to return to the practice field this week, even on a limited basis, could open the possibility that he could be cleared for the Divisional Round if the Dolphins pull the road upset versus Pittsburgh. Speaking to reporters Friday, Tannehill said it's unclear whether he might need surgery at some point. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Dolphins don't know his availability but that they aren't counting on it if they win, according to a source informed of the situation.
On a less optimistic note, corner Byron Maxwell missed his third straight day of practice with an ankle injury. Miami was hopeful it could get the defensive back on the field versus the Steelers, but that optimism took a dive as the week wore on.
"We've got him as doubtful," Gase said of Maxwell. "It doesn't look real good."
In other Dolphins news, the team waived defensive end Jason Jones. Jones compiled 36 tackles and 3.5 sacks with two passes defensed. Jones was suspended for two games this season due to a DUI arrest. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Jones' release was unrelated to any legal matters.
Releasing Jones makes it likely that Mario Williams will play Sunday. Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said earlier this week that Williams might be a backup after he was inactive last week. The high-priced free agent has been an uber disappointment this season, recording just 1.5 sacks. It could be his final game for the Dolphins, who seem poised to cut ties with Williams after the season.