Dallas Cowboys

La’el Collins excited about return to practice, works in individual

Cowboys offensive guard La'el Collins (71) has worked hard to try to return from injured reserve this season.
Cowboys offensive guard La'el Collins (71) has worked hard to try to return from injured reserve this season. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Cowboys guard La’el Collins practiced Wednesday for the first time since injuring his right big toe in Week 3. Collins participated in individual drills, and though he didn’t do any team, he stayed after practice to work on planting, pushing off and hitting.

He hopes to advance to doing some team drills Thursday.

“Today was the first day I was able to go out with the team and practice,” Collins said. “That felt good just to be back out there with those guys. …I did some hitting and stuff after practice, too, so that felt pretty good.”

The Cowboys started the 21-day window on Collins last week in a bid to return him from injured reserve, using their return designation. But Collins worked exclusively on the side rehabbing last week.

“It’s been a long time,” Collins said. “I’m super excited to be back with my guys.”

Collins underwent surgery Oct. 4 and was given a 4-6-month rehab. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated last week that Collins’ rehab was complete, and coach Jason Garrett said he was “hopeful” that Collins would return this season at least in a backup role.

“I feel like if they need me to come back and play I’ll definitely be ready to go and give them everything I got,” Collins said. “That’s kind of where I wanted to be after my injury. I knew it was going to be a tough one just from the timetable standpoint. But the fact that I was able to get healthy and be able to return now is huge for our team. I’m just here to support these guys. I’ll be ready to go whenever they need me.”

The Cowboys have not replaced Randy Gregory on their 53-player roster yet. But Collins said he was uncertain if the Cowboys would add him to the roster this week.

The Cowboys are as healthy as they have been since the season started. All 52 players practiced, though cornerback Morris Claiborne (groin), defensive end Tyrone Crawford (shoulder), linebacker Justin Durant (elbow), defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back), defensive tackle Terrell McClain (ankle), offensive tackle Tyron Smith (knee) and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton (ankle) were limited.

“Certainly the two weeks have helped us [get healthy],” Garrett said. “Some of those guys who [practiced today] didn’t play in a couple of the games at the end of the season, so it’s good to see them working as hard as they did to get back and get ready for this opportunity.”