Dannell Ellerbe After missing his first game of the season last week against Buffalo, the Miami Dolphins were happy to welcome Dannell Ellerbe back to practice Wednesday.

It is believed Ellerbe will be cleared to play Sunday against the Patriots in a huge AFC East tilt.

According to James Walker of ESPN.com, “He is coming off a shoulder injury and didn’t work on the side with trainers, which is a good sign.”

There is no reason to believe Ellerbe will not be in the lineup.

His return is a good thing for the Dolphins. After winning their first three games, Miami has dropped it last three - including a game where they fought back from  14-point deficit to tie the Bills, only to lose in the final quarter.

While Ellerbe made his return to the team for this week, another player with ties to the Miami area has been playing well since becoming a Dolphins teammate. Bryant McKinnie is getting acclimated to the team after being traded to the Dolphins from the Ravens this week.

McKinnie, a former All-American and first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, is being used strictly at left tackle. The move to trade McKinnie was made easier by the trade the Ravens made for former Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe. In Dolphins practice, McKinnie has been working strictly as a left tackle.

“Despite coach Joe Philbin saying the team is undecided, it’s clear the Dolphins have made up their mind.” Walker’s report stated. “The major question is whether McKinnie can get ready in time for Sunday’s game. The Dolphins will be off Thursday and have a light walk-through on Friday. Therefore, McKinnie will only have two meaningful practices under his belt.”

While the Dolphins were welcoming players back to the fold, the Patriots are dealing with some injuries of their own.

ESPNBoston.com is reporting that: Wide receiver Danny Amendola (concussion/groin) and cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) were among nine Patriots that were limited during Wednesday's practice, the team's first of the week in advance of a division game against the Dolphins this Sunday.

Amendola missed practice all of last week, while Talib returned to practice on Friday in a limited capacity. Neither played for the team during a Week 7 defeat against the Jets.

Also, defensive end Tommy Kelly and Leon Washington were not seen out in practice drills in the afternoon on Wednesday and appeared to be the only Patriots' players who were held out of drills.