DeMarcus Lawrence’s rookie season got off on the wrong foot. He fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the first week of training camp, and he will miss three to six regular-season games.
But the defensive end remains upbeat, knowing he will get back for the bulk of the season.
“I’m glad it happened now than later,” Lawrence said Tuesday. “Just going on a day-to-day basis with the treatment and getting that done, so we can get back on the field.”
Lawrence was injured in a one-on-one pass-rush drill against left tackle Tyron Smith on July 29 and had surgery two days later. He remains on crutches. Lawrence said he will be re-examined Sept. 4.
“Knowing that I’m coming back soon, maybe in the next month or two, keeps my head high,” Lawrence said. “I’ll be back.”
The Cowboys traded their third-round pick to move up in the second round to select the Boise State product with the 34th overall choice.
Amobi Okoye’s comeback story continued Tuesday as he had “a little contact” with a lineman after practice.
“It was a weird feeling, but it was good to do that,” the defensive tackle said.
Okoye has not played since 2012, missing last season with a potentially deadly brain disease, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Dr. Imo Aisiku cleared Okoye last week, and he rejoined his teammates at Valley Ranch this week.
Okoye, though, remains on the non-football illness list, and the Cowboys will take a cautious approach with him.
“The plan now is to get him in football condition,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We can’t work with him as coaches. He needs to get himself in shape as best he can. He has been cleared, but you don’t want to just simply take him out there. He hasn’t played in a long, long time. You just want to make sure his wind is right, his feet are underneath him.”
Okoye, who at one point was placed in a medically induced coma to stabilize seizures, doesn’t have a timetable for his return to practice. For now, just being back in the locker room and the weight room is good enough. It’s one step at a time, Okoye said.
“It’s just seeing how things progress on a daily basis,” he said. “…You’ve got to be cautious with things, because obviously you’re dealing with the brain. We’ll take things slowly and progressively get better.”
Although owner Jerry Jones said he doesn’t expect Morris Claiborne to play in Saturday’s preseason game against Miami, the cornerback has that as his goal.
“That’s what I’m pushing for right now,” Claiborne said.
Claiborne, who said his injured right shoulder is not 100 percent, has missed nine of 11 preseason games in his three seasons. He returned to practice Tuesday, though he was limited to non-contact drills.
“I kind of shadowed pretty much the whole practice,” Claiborne said. “I pretty much was involved in the practice, just not involved, just out on the side. I made the best of every rep that I could make of it.”