OXNARD, Calif. — The good news for defensive tackle Henry Melton: His surgically repaired knee is holding up just fine. The bad news: Melton left Sunday’s practice early with a groin injury.“[Head trainer] Jim Maurer told me that initially it showed a little groin strain,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We’ll have to take a little bit better look at it, but he’ll probably be off of it a few days.”It is at least a temporary setback for Melton, whom the Cowboys signed in the off-season to replace Jason Hatcher at the under tackle position.Melton had been having a solid camp, according to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.The Cowboys, though, have been cautious with the Grapevine and Texas product as he returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. They have limited Melton some in practice and held him out of the preseason opener last Thursday.His new injury will keep him out of the joint practices with the Raiders, and he could miss Saturday’s preseason game against the Ravens. Rookie Ken Bishop replaced Melton with the first team Sunday. “Like all guys coming off injuries, they are probably not quite themselves,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier Sunday before Melton injured his groin. “He needs a little more time, and that’s the nature of this injury. The more time away from this surgery the better the guy gets if he works at it and he is certainly working hard at it.”Defensive end Tyrone Crawford said a tight calf kept him out of some of the team work late in Sunday’s practice. The Cowboys began the day with 12 defensive players out of practice. Romo looking goodTony Romo continues to look more like himself every day. After four days off, the quarterback returned to practice Saturday with his best day. He continued that Sunday.“He looked like himself,” Garrett said before Sunday’s practice. “Having the time off prior to the [San Diego] game and after the game, I think, was good for him.“Our thing all along with him has been monitor the work, communicate, get great feedback and then make our next best decision. I think we’ve done that up to this point.” Garrett acknowledged the problems Romo has had throwing the deep ball, which quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson pointed out last week. But the head coach said it was all part of coming back from an injury and the natural progression of your body and throwing mechanics. Jones said Sunday night he has no concerns with Romo’s return to health.“I think Romo’s got a young body,” Jones said. “I think fundamentally the way he torques, the way he executes, … if he’s compromised in any way, I think he can handle it real well.”Defense has best dayThe Cowboys’ defense had perhaps its best day of training camp Sunday, though Marinelli said he’s been pleased with practices the past two days.“It’s just about continually getting better right now,” Marinelli said. “Keep pushing and keep pushing.”Receiver Dez Bryant gave Sunday’s practice to the offense, but admitted it was a close call.“They got in our heads,” Bryant said. “Like I told [Orlando] Scandrick yesterday, when we’re talking back, it’s obviously a good sign that y’all are doing something against us. On the offensive side of the ball, we have a high standard.“We want to be the best, and that’s the way it’s going to be, and that’s the kind of mindset that we’re going to have. … Scandrick really got under our skin today, but at the end of the day, we won.”Brent updateThe Cowboys have heard nothing from the league office on Josh Brent’s status.The defensive tackle met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday in an attempt to resume his career.He was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter.“We’ll wait for the commissioner’s decision in due time,” Jones said.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean