IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys returned to practice on Wednesday to Valley Ranch with everyone back on the field, except for their two starting linebackers – Sean Lee and Justin Durant.
That’s a big difference from the last game in New Orleans when starters such as Jason Hatcher, Miles Austin, J.J. Wilcox and key reserve Morris Claiborne were all out.
All four of those players are not only practicing, but expected to play Sunday against the Giants.
Hatcher (stinger) will start again at defensive tackle but it’s unclear what the other three will do in terms of the starting lineup. Jeff Heath worked with first-team on Monday but Wilcox could regain his starting post by Sunday’s game.
Claiborne, who did not practice Monday but returned Wednesday, has been coming in on nickel situations as Orlando Scandrick has been the starter on the outside and Austin will likely be used on passing downs, but he might not unseat rookie Terrance Williams in the standard offense.
Regardless, the Cowboys are happy to have all of them back for this week’s pivotal game in New York.
As for the linebackers, Lee and Durant are both suffering from hamstring injuries that will likely keep them out of this week’s game and the Thanksgiving Day game against Oakland on Nov. 28.
Ernie Sims is slated to start in the middle with Bruce Carter calling the defenses from the outside. Rookie DeVonte Holloman (neck) also practiced and should return to action for the first time since the Oct. 13 game against Washington. Holloman is scheduled to start at SAM linebacker.
DeMarcus Ware (quad) did not practice Monday but did some limited work on Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday against the Giants.