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With Giants' permission, Dolphins practice at Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The sight of New York Giants players leaving their practice facility at the Meadowlands at the same time that team buses carrying the Miami Dolphins pulled up was awkward to say the least.

But for Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, this was a typical Friday afternoon -- except around 1,300 miles away from South Florida.

Thanks to the numerous ties between the two organizations, starting with Bill Parcells and the Maras all the way down to Sparano and Giants coach Tom Coughlin, the arrangement was made possible. The Dolphins (6-6) are preparing for a pivotal AFC East showdown Sunday with the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium.

After Miami players checked into their hotel rooms, ate a team meal and attended positional meetings, it was back onto the bus for the short trip across the New Jersey Turnpike.

"My guys have done this before in some of these situations and adapted fine, so I wouldn't expect that it would be any problem," Sparano said.

Karlos Dansby has the most recent experience working out in another team's facility, doing so two years ago during the week leading up to the Super Bowl in Tampa. He was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, who used the Buccaneers' facility, so he is accustomed to such a change. This is the first time he has done it during the regular season.

Left guard Richie Incognito experienced working at another team's practice field when he was with the St. Louis Rams. He sees the switch in itinerary as a benefit because the team gets an extra day in the road city. Incognito pointed to Miami's 33-17 win in Oakland two weeks ago as a good example of how going out a day early helped the team.

"We went down to Tennessee and practiced in their facility for training camp one year when I was with St. Louis," Incognito said. "It's no big deal. It's cool to check out their facility and see how other guys do it. And I think it's good that the team is together and that the team is focused for two days before the game, and we're just looking for any way to get a win."

Part of the plan this weekend to re-energize the team and perhaps motivate the players on Sunday involved taking in the Broadway play "Lombardi," based on the life of the Hall of Fame coach. A little history lesson never hurt anyone, and this also was a way for Sparano to spend a rare Friday night with his players.

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Unfortunately, two of his regulars weren't able to get a taste of culture; right tackle Vernon Carey and wide receiver Brian Hartline didn't make the trip. Hartline had surgery to repair a finger injury, and Carey's knee injury didn't heal in time for the game. Carey had started 87 consecutive games.

Inside linebacker Channing Crowder was less intrigued by practicing in a strange facility than he was about experiencing Broadway.

"This will be my first and last taste of Broadway," Crowder said. "I love football, and he's a legendary coach, so it is cool. I love the concept of it, but I've never been to a Broadway play, so I shouldn't speak on it. I don't have a tuxedo, but I've got a nice little sport jacket and a collared shirt, so I'll try to impress the actress."

Among those Dolphins listed as questionable for the game against the Jets are wide receiver Brandon Marshall (right hamstring), offensive tackle Jake Long (left knee), linebackers Crowder (knee) and Karlos Dansby (toe), defensive end Kendall Langford (neck) and cornerback Sean Smith (ankle). All were limited Friday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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