Jay Ratliff is in danger of missing not only the New York Giants game, but the first six games should he start the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.Coach Jason Garrett continued to say Monday, “We’re just going to take it day by day,” in regard to the four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle.But there is no sign of Ratliff, who will be 32 on Thursday, even stepping foot on the practice field. He has been out since hurting his hamstring in the conditioning test before training camp on July 20. That has also held back his recovery from the hernia surgery he had last December.“He does a lot of stuff in the weight room or by himself on the side with some of the guys that we have helping him with the rehab,” Garrett said. “Really the biggest thing with him is gaining some strength to get to the point where he can start doing some stuff on the field.”New injuriesGuard Mackenzy Bernadeau, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and safety Danny McCray joined the injured list. Bernadeau has an ankle injury from Saturday’s game, and Hatcher and McCray have groin injuries.Coach Jason Garrett said the injuries are not “too, too serious,” but said the players weren’t ready for strenuous practices on Monday and Tuesday.“We didn’t think those guys would be ready for that, and there’s going to be some time they’re going to have off,” Garrett said. “The starting players won’t be playing in the game, or they’ll play very little in the game on Thursday night. We didn’t think they were ready to go, and hopefully they can catch up with some rest as the week progresses.”Claiborne, Beasley returnMorris Claiborne returned to practice on Monday and said his No. 1 concern is to be in shape for the season opener because the Cowboys’ new defense requires a lot of running.“I know the way our defense is built. It’s built on effort and getting to the ball,” he said. “Will I be ready to run to the ball each and every snap and not have to be patting to come out of the game? We’ve been working on that a lot. I feel like I’m improving each and every day.”Receiver Cole Beasley also returned to practice after hurting his foot in the preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 9. He said Tuesday’s practice will be more intense because he will work in the team period.“It’s going to be a lot different with cuts and not knowing when they’re coming and reactions and stuff,” he said. “So we’ll see how my foot does through that. Hopefully that’ll be all right so I can play Thursday.”Spencer planDefensive end Anthony Spencer said his rehab plan calls for him to go full speed in practice next week, and as long as he’s healthy, he said he can be ready for the opener against the Giants.“I have never struggled with conditioning in the NFL,” he said. “I work hard, and I get in condition pretty quickly. Regardless, I won’t be in top condition for the opener. I will be good for the first 10, 15 plays.”Spencer is recovering from knee surgery on July 25, the first week of training camp.Special flubsCoach Jason Garrett said being tired is no excuse for the punt return touchdown allowed Saturday night after a re-kick. He blamed it on missed tackles and undisciplined lane running.“Any justification? Absolutely not,” Garrett said, asked if the re-kick played a role in the return. “This is real life. Absolutely not. You have to be mentally tough, and you have to go do your job again. We had guys in position to make that play. We had three guys in position to make that play, and they didn’t make it. And they have to do that if they want to be a part of it.”Garrett said many of the special teams problems in preseason – which include long returns, a blocked field goal, a missed field goal and penalties – should be cleaned up when the Cowboys get the guys in place they will use during the regular season.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez