Dallas Cowboys

Dez excited to get back to work

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was back on the practice field for the first time since injuring his right knee on Sept. 25 against the Chicago Bears.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was back on the practice field for the first time since injuring his right knee on Sept. 25 against the Chicago Bears. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Dez Bryant is back, at least on the practice field in some capacity.

The All-Pro receiver returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, the first time since injuring his knee Sept. 25 that he worked in individual drills.

“It felt good,” Bryant said. “Of course, it’s something minor. But at the same time, even if I didn’t go Sunday, this is much needed. I need to get that work in and I need to be ready to go whenever I get back. So it was much needed.”

The Cowboys’ 4-1 record combined with next week’s bye could factor into the team holding Bryant out until the Oct. 30 game against the Eagles. While Bryant wants to play, he also understands the conservative approach after not playing a single game at 100 percent last season because of foot, ankle and knee injuries.

“Don’t have to worry about making it worse, which I feel like I can’t at this point,” Bryant said of the possibility of sitting a third consecutive week. “It’s only getting better. What we’ve got going on here is extremely amazing, and you don’t want to force anything.”

Bryant has a hairline fracture in the tibial plateau of his right knee. After spending two weeks on the StairMaster, the elliptical and the underwater treadmill, Bryant was excited to get back to running.

Bryant called his status “day to day” and said how he feels Friday will determine whether he plays Sunday against Green Bay. If Bryant doesn’t play, he again will serve as the team’s biggest cheerleader in his sleeveless hoodie that has become a good-luck charm.

“Anytime you feel like you have a chance to do anything great, you want to be patient,” Bryant said. “You want to take your time. You want to get everything right. You don’t want to be back and be half-stepping. You don’t want to be doing none of that. If I play, I’m going to be rocking and rolling. I’m going to be going full speed.”

More injury news

Cornerback Morris Claiborne is a notable addition to the injury report with an ankle injury. He was limited on Wednesday.

Fellow cornerback Orlando Scandrick (hamstrings) did not practice and is not expected to play Sunday in Green Bay. Neither is reserve running back Lance Dunbar, who is dealing with a left knee injury.

The good news is kicker Dan Bailey (back) fully participated for the first time since sustaining a back injury just before the Week 4 game at San Francisco.

Record watch

Forget about Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.

Dez Bryant believes Ezekiel Elliott can become the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards.

Elliott is leading the league with 546 rushing yards through five games. If he averages 115 yards per game the rest of the way, he’ll break Dickerson’s record set in 1983. To reach the 2,000 mark as Bryant suggested, Elliott would need to average more than 132 yards a game.

Elliott brushes off any talk about setting records.

“Honestly, I never started talking about Eric Dickerson’s record, you guys did,” Elliott said. “So you guys made that a story, but it’s honestly not something I’m very focused on. I’m focused on going out and winning ballgames. Focused on getting better with the team every week.”

But is Dickerson’s record within reach?

“I don’t know,” Elliott said.

For now, Elliott is on pace for 1,747 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, which would be the second-best numbers by a rookie running back in NFL history. Dickerson holds both rookie rushing records for yards (1,808) and touchdowns (18) from his 1983 season.

In that ’83 season, Dickerson carried the ball 390 times. Elliott is on pace for 349 carries this season.

That is roughly 22 carries a game for Elliott, the same number he averaged in his final season at Ohio State when he had 1,821 rushing yards on 289 carries in 13 games.

“We feel like he’s a sturdy back,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We don’t think there’s any issue with giving Zeke the football. He’s been very productive. Think he only had 15 carries in the game the other day, so he’s handling the workload well.”

Time will tell whether that workload will eventually land him in the NFL record books.

Staff writer Charean Williams contributed to this report.