Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys update: Smith, Collins go from out to limited, Cooper to practice Friday    

The Dallas Cowboys got some good injury news on Thursday when center Travis Frederick returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday for personal reasons.

Left tackle Tyron Smith and right tackle La’el Collins also practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, offering hope they could play against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.

Smith has missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain. And Collins missed last week with a sprained knee.

Receivers Amari Cooper (quad) and Randall Cobb (back) and cornerbacks Byron Jones (hamstring) and Anthony Brown (hamstring) did not practice, though Cooper and Cobb both said they will try to give it a go on Friday.

As with anything these days with the Cowboys (3-3), who are riding a three-game losing streak, good news is always offset by something bad.

Right guard Zack Martin (back/ankle) and backup center Joe Looney (back) missed practiced Thursday.

Martin has been bothered by a bad back since training camp and now is slowed by ankle injury, meaning that three starters will be hobbled against the Eagles if they play at all.

The health of the offense line and Cooper’s return is paramount for the Cowboys offense in its effort to combat a blitzing-happy Eagles defense.

The Cowboys need to block them to protect quarterback Dak Prescott but they also need to burn them with big plays down field when they do blitz and no one does that like Cooper.

He had 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles man to man coverage behind the blitz last season.

He plans to practice Friday and is hoping to play Sunday.

He said the quad bruise, which is the size of a football on his inner left leg, is better than it was last week when he thought he could play against the Jets but only lasted four plays.

Cooper suffered the injury in the 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers when he caught 11 passes for a career-high 226 yards and a touchdown.

He said he couldn’t walk on Monday. He was able to walk on Wednesday so he thought he could play, although it remained painful.

“I was going out there practicing and doing what I could do,” Cooper said. “The difference between practice and a game is you don’t get tackled in practice. So your injury doesn’t worsen. You might be in pain but it doesn’t get worse. When I got tackled in the game it got worse. It was already hurting and the play i caught the ball on I got tackled on it. And it hurt even more. That’s when I knew I couldn’t do my job.”

He plans to communicate better with the trainers regarding his condition before the game so the team won’t be left short handed at receiver as it was last week.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.