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Dolphins' Culpepper taking 'small steps'

DAVIE, Fla. (May 18, 2007) -- Daunte Culpepper practiced on a limited basis with the Miami Dolphins, the latest step in his recovery from two knee operations.

Culpepper said he's certain he'll be able to take part in the Dolphins' minicamp June 8-10.

"It's small steps right now," he said. "I feel good. No real pain, which is a good sign. I just want to ease my way into it."

Culpepper dropped back and threw short passes during drills with other quarterbacks. The one-day team workout was one in a series leading toward training camp in late July, and for Culpepper it was part of a long rehabilitation.

Coach Cam Cameron declined to assess Culpepper.

"Until a guy is 100 percent, it is not fair to evaluate him," Cameron said. "That's the approach. Keep it simple. When the guy is 100 percent, evaluate him and then go from there."

Culpepper hopes to receive medical clearance for the June minicamp from Dr. James Andrews. He performed reconstructive knee surgery on Culpepper in November 2005, then performed arthroscopic surgery last November to remove cartilage that hampered the quarterback's recovery.

Because of persistent trouble with his right knee, Culpepper played only four games last season, his first with the Dolphins.

"I feel a lot better right now than I did last year at this time," Culpepper said, "and last year at this time I was taking every rep and doing everything."

Even if Culpepper fully recovers, it's uncertain whether he'll be with the Dolphins. They took Brigham Young quarterback John Beck in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and they have tried to trade for Kansas City quarterback Trent Green.

"There's no reason for me to feel like I'm in limbo," Culpepper said. "I'm going to be prepared for whatever happens."

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