Dallas Cowboys

Bruce Carter returns after three-week absence

DeMarcus Ware missed three games with a quadriceps strain last season. Bruce Carter hoped to return sooner, but his wait was the same as Ware’s.

Carter expects to play Monday night after missing the past three games with a right quadriceps strain.

“I think as the week goes on and me running around and being able to open up a little bit more each day, I think I’ll be fine for Monday night,” Carter said Thursday.

The starting Sam linebacker practiced Thursday for the first time since he was injured chasing New Orleans’ Khiry Robinson in a Sept. 28 game.

“It felt great to run around and finally get off that training table, go out there and have some fun with my teammates,” Carter said. “That actually felt great to get out there.”

Carter said his quadriceps held up well, but he will need a few days to get back in football shape.

“My legs were dead from not running the past three weeks,” Carter said. “With time, that’s going to get stronger. I’ve just got to stack these days up. I’m going to continue doing my treatment to make sure I’m 100 percent.”

Carter ranks fourth in the team with 29 tackles. Rookie Anthony Hitchens took Carter’s place on the strongside in the base defense, making five tackles the past three games combined. Rolando McClain and Justin Durant were the nickel linebackers the past three weeks.