DAVIE - Three practices into cornerback Dimitri Patterson's return and it appears he's regained his starting spot with the Miami Dolphins.
Patterson, who has been sidelined the past month because of a strained groin, was the cornerback who got consistently paired with Brent Grimes during the portion of Wednesday's practice session the media watched.
Patterson, who pulled down two interceptions in the season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns, replaced Nolan Carroll, who has filled in as the starter the past five games.
Patterson, a seven-year veteran, initially earned the starting spot opposite Grimes during training camp, but a groin injury he's been nursing since training camp kept him from playing the past four games.
The Dolphins will likely determine who starts opposite Grimes in Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills based on how Patterson and Carroll perform this week in practice.
Carroll, a four-year veteran, is nursing an elbow injury, but it doesn't appear that his participation in practice has been limited.
Based on the 299 snaps Carroll has played ProFootballFocus.com rates him the No. 31 cornerback in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks have a 58.7 passer rating when throwing to receivers he's covered. Carroll, a 2010 fifth-round pick, has allowed 41.9 percent of the passes thrown at the receiver he's defended this season to be completed.
The Dolphins take Thursday off and have one more practice session (Friday) before wrapping up the week.