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Dolphins begin practice week without their top five offensive tackles and a starting guard

The Dolphins on Wednesday began practice for their playoff game without their top five offensive tackles and starting guard Liam Eichenberg, who is dealing with a hand injury.

Left tackle Terron Armstead remains sidelined with multiple injuries that have kept him from playing the past two games, with a hip injury among his ailments.

Armstead said he hopes to play Sunday in Buffalo(1 p.m., CBS) but isn’t sure. “Working around the clock, trying to do everything I can,” he said after winning the media’s 2022 Good Guy Award on Wednesday.

“Been dealing with quite a bit this year. I want nothing more than to be out there with my guys in Buffalo on Sunday. For me, it’s not a pain thing. It’s function of the muscle. If I can go [Sunday], I’m going.”

Armstead, who has a physical therapist live with him during the season, also revealed that a doctor advised him to get season-ending surgery (believed to be on his toe) in Week 1 but he opted not to.

Meanwhile, right tackle Brandon Shell has a high ankle sprain and mild knee sprain and is very much in doubt for Sunday.

Also still sidelined: Austin Jackson (who’s eligible to come off injured reserve but isn’t ready to play because of an ankle injury) and Kendall Lamm, who played well for half a game at left tackle against the Patriots, in Armstead’s absence, before sustaining an ankle injury.

Eric Fisher (calf) is not eligible to come off injured reserve this week. None of the five were on the field during the portion of practice open to media; neither was Eichenberg.

If Armstead and Shell cannot play, the Dolphins figure to play Greg Little at left tackle and potentially Robert Hunt at right tackle. Hunt played right guard all season before shifting to right tackle late in the Jets game, with Rob Jones playing right guard.

Hunt said he hadn’t practiced at right tackle this season.

“I haven’t really put any effort or focus into that position. [But] I was comfortable playing it. I came in this league as a tackle. I think I can still be a tackle. If they need me to play tackle, I’ll play.”

Miami’s other option would be starting backup tackle Geron Christian (who has 16 NFL starts at tackle) at one tackle spot and leaving Hunt at guard.

If Eichenberg can’t play, the Dolphins’ guard options (beyond Rob Jones) include center Michael Deiter (who played guard as a rookie) and practice squad players Lester Cotton (who has appeared in 15 games for the Raiders, including one start in this season) and James Empey, the undrafted rookie from BYU.

WILSON’S CHANCE

Jeff Wilson Jr.’s thoughts of playing for the Dolphins seemingly ended, in his mind, when Miami signed Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in March.

But a Nov. 1 deal with San Francisco reunited him with Mike McDaniel and that trade — which gave the Dolphins’ ground game a spark — looks even more critical now, with Mostert likely unavailable this week because of a broken thumb and Myles Gaskin’s season over because of a shoulder injury. (Mostert wasn’t at practice Wednesday.)

On Sunday in Buffalo, Wilson will anchor a Dolphins rushing attack that had success without him on Dec. 17 in Buffalo.

Mostert ran 17 times for 136 yards (an 8.0 average) in that 32-29 Bills win. And with Wilson sidelined that game with a hip injury, Salvon Ahmed rushed six times for 43 yards (a 7.2 average).

The comfortable aspect for Miami is that Wilson’s per-carry average (4.9) was every bit as good as Mostert’s this season and tied for 11th in the league. And throughout his career, Wilson often has thrived with a big workload.

Mostert’s 891 yards rushing were 21st in the league. Wilson’s 860 yards — including 468 for the 49ers and 392 for the Dolphins — ranked 24th in the league.

Wilson’s yards and per-carry average were both the high marks of his five-year career.

“Love the coaching staff here from the owner to the GM; everyone has shown me tremendous love,” Wilson said last week. “I’ll forever be thankful.”

The Dolphins acquired him from the 49ers for a 2023 fifth-rounder, and he already knows he wants to stay when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, or before.

But Sunday’s game will be his forum to make a case for a contract worth more than the one year, $1 million deal he got with the 49ers.

“I don’t think anybody that made a move or had a change in the middle of their career like I have can come to another organization and really feel at home and really wanted to be there [as much as I have],” said Wilson, who spent his first 4 ½ pro seasons with the 49ers after signing as an undrafted free agent from North Texas.

He said teammates often invite him out and that has been meaningful.

“It’s love that’s gone [above and] beyond and I’ve only been here a few weeks,” he said. “That’s what makes me really want to stay here. But it’s also a business.”

Wilson is skilled at breaking tackles, but for the season, he finished well behind Mostert in average yards after contact. Mostert was 18th in the league in that category at 3.52 average yards after contact, while Wilson was 93rd of 143 running backs at 2.62.

This is encouraging: Wilson usually has played well on days he received a heavy workload.

In his five games this season with 16 or more carries, Wilson averaged 4.5 yards per rush (against the Jets last Sunday), 7.0 (on 17 carries for the Dolphins against Cleveland), 7.0 (on 17 carries for the 49ers against Carolina earlier this season), and 4.1 and 4.7 in two 18-carry games for the 49ers earlier this season.

Wilson has been traveling around town in his scooter to run errands, though he still uses a car for longer distances.

“I’ll go a couple miles in the scooter; five, six miles is the longest I’ve gone,” he said. “A couple times I’ve been recognized, but I have my my helmet on.”

SURTAIN LEAVING

Former Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain is leaving the Dolphins’ coaching staff at the end of the team’s playoff run to take a job as Florida State’s secondary coach.

Surtain spent this season as a defensive assistant, helping cornerbacks coach Sam Madison and safeties coach Steve Gregory.

Before that, he led Plantation American Heritage to a 65-10 record and three state championships in six seasons as head coach.