For two games two seasons ago Daniel Thomas looked like he was destined to be handed the crown ready to become king of the Miami Dolphins' backfield.

The Dolphins' 2011 second-round pick battled his way back from a preseason hamstring injury and when opportunity knocked he bowled over the opposition in the season's first month.

The rookie hammered a good Houston Texans defense in the second game of that season using his physical style to rush for 107 yards on 17 carries. Then the next Sunday Thomas gained 95 rushing yards on 23 carries against the Cleveland Browns and caught three passes for 27 yards which included his only touchdown as a rookie.

Two games turned into two 100-yard performances and transformed Thomas into a fantasy football gem. Then the hamstring injury tightened up again and Thomas limped through the final 13 games of '11.

"That hamstring injury" Thomas said while shaking his head. "I still have a big knot in my hammy right now from it and that played a lot into the burst I had. I'm working my way back now and hopefully this year will be a good year for me."

Thomas isn't naive. He realizes his survival in the NFL depends on him staying healthy being available when his number is called and most importantly producing on game days.

All three were an issue last season considering Thomas who has a 3.6 yards per carry average suffered two concussions which led to him falling behind Lamar Miller on the depth chart.