The Dallas Cowboys began preparing for Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants by welcoming several of their injured stars back to practice on Monday.
Receiver Amari Cooper (foot) and guard Zack Martin (back) returned after a month-long break, which included missing all of the preseason. Tackle Tyron Smith missed the final three preseason games with a back injury.
All three practiced on a limited basis on Monday with the expectations of playing against the Giants at AT&T Stadium at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday. The team had Tuesday off before returning to work on Wednesday for a fully-padded practice.
“I didn’t do everything, but I think I did enough,” Cooper said. “I think I’m good. I didn’t feel any pain. But then again, I didn’t do everything that I would normally do in a game. So I would just need the rest of the week to really assess it.”
Cooper said Tuesday would be telling as he assesses how his body reacts to the work he got on Monday.
But he plans to suit up against the Giants regardless.
Martin is of a similar mindset.
He didn’t do everything on Monday but felt good.
“The plan is to keep working and get more reps on Wednesday, but I felt good,” Martin said. “A lot of guys trying to get prepared for this week. It was nice the see the unit back out there.”
Linebacker Sean Lee, who has been limited by a sprained knee since the first week of camp, also practiced with sleeve on the right knee. He appears to be ready for the Giants as well.
The only three players that didn’t practice were safeties Donovan Wilson and Darian Thompson and linebacker Luke Gifford due to ankle injuries. Neither expected to play against the Giants.
The Cowboys officially moved guard-center Connor McGovern to the short-term injured reserve list with a partially torn pectoral and officially released linebacker Rolando McClain.
The club still held McClain’s rights during the veteran linebacker’s indefinite suspension for violating the substance abuse policy dating back to 2016. The NFL reinstated McClain on a conditional basis last week as he seeks to return to the game.
Dallas also made its 10-man practice squad official. The list included WR Ventell Bryant, LB Chris Covington, TE Cole Hikutini, OT Mitch Hyatt, CB Michael Jackson, CB Donovan Olumba, QB Clayton Thorson, RB Mike Weber, WR Cedrick Wilson and DL Daniel Wise.
Thorson, Hikutini and Ventell Bryant are newcomers. The other seven were with the Cowboys in training camp and cleared waivers after final cuts.
Thorson, Hikutini and Bryant cleared waivers after spending preseason with the Eagles, Vikings and Bengals, respectively.