Witten, Jenkins limited in practice; status for Giants questionable
09/02/2012 11:15 PM
04/18/2013 7:29 PM
IRVING -- Mike Jenkins knew all eyes -- and cameras -- were on him when he returned to the practice field Sunday.
"Take a picture," he said.
Jenkins hadn't been on a football field since the 2011 season finale against the New York Giants, 244 days ago. Dr. James Andrews preformed reconstructive surgery on Jenkins' right shoulder soon after last season ended.
"It was good," Jenkins said of practice. "I got my feet up under me. I got a chance to get out there and work with the rest of the team."
The Cowboys listed Jenkins and tight end Jason Witten as limited in practice Sunday. Both likely have a better chance of returning for the team's Week 2 game against the Seahawks, although the Cowboys haven't declared them out of the season opener against the Giants.
Witten said his availability for Wednesday's game solely will be determined by a CT scan he has Tuesday. If his lacerated spleen is healed, Witten said he will play -- no ifs, ands or buts.
"If I get cleared, I'm playing," he said. "It's the only way, I believe, you can approach the game.... This is what you play for. It's an opportunity, especially where we're at and how much work we've put into this situation."
Witten, who was injured in the Aug. 13 preseason opener against the Raiders, is aware that returning to action only 22 days after lacerating his spleen is asking a lot. He said he would not use the word "optimistic" about his chances since it is a medical -- not personal -- decision.
Witten has missed only one game in his career, sitting out against the Eagles with a broken jaw as a rookie in 2003.
"I think it healed quicker than people thought," he said. "But ultimately, medically, it's a quick turnaround. You look it up. A lot of times, those injuries are a lot longer than this. So I think it's just they've got to feel comfortable on seeing what I've done.
"That's why I've really tried to push it myself to try to speed up, and -- I don't want to say convince, because ultimately, it's in the scan -- but put myself in every position to get that done."
Jenkins said there is no timetable for his return.
He has complete faith in his rebuilt shoulder, he said, but his conditioning is another matter entirely.
"I feel everybody needs [work]," Jenkins said. "That's why they have preseason to get back out there. It's going to take a little while. I can't put a timeframe on it. Whenever I feel comfortable, I guess, when I get my feet under me. At least a couple of days, a week, however long it takes me, I'm not sure."
The question is what role Jenkins will play. Dallas signed free agent Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne to be its starting corners. Orlando Scandrick, who signed a five-year extension last August, has been the team's nickel back since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2008.
Jenkins, a one-time Pro Bowler, made 22 tackles, with 10 pass breakups and one interception last season while battling through injuries. In the final year of his contract, Jenkins can up his free agency value by showing he is capable of playing the slot as well as outside.
"If that's what I have to do, then that's what I have to do," Jenkins said of playing the slot. "Like I said, it's Coach's decision. I'm pretty sure whatever it is, they're going to prepare everybody in the right way.
"... Whatever they need. I'm going to do my job."
Miles Austin (hamstring), Dez Bryant (knee tendinitis), DeMarcus Ware (hamstring) and Phil Costa (back) went through a full practice Sunday for the Cowboys. Linebacker Dan Connor (hip), receiver Andre Holmes (knee) and linebacker Kyle Wilber (thumb) were limited. Safety Matt Johnson (hamstring), safety Danny McCray (neck) and nose tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle) did not practice.
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