ARLINGTON, Texas - Jason Garrett's many titles have never included psychologist. But that changes a bit when discussing Miles Austin, who he has to coach through a nagging hamstring injury.
Austin has been out since early in beginning of training camp with another strained hamstring, an issue he's had throughout his tenure as a Cowboy that held him out of six games last season, and hampered him in others. Garrett said Austin hasn't suffered another setback, but the Cowboys are being cautious not to bring him back too early. He said Austin's consistent work ethic might be a reason his hamstring gets stressed.
Garrett has to ask Austin the right questions to make sure the receiver is completely healthy before he returns, since Austin is the type of player who will always say he's ready to practice and play and get back on the field.
"You love that toughness," Garrett said. "That's what makes him the guy he is. It's what makes all the great players who they are, but as a staff we've got to make sure we're getting the right information from him so we don't put him in a situation where he re-injures that thing. It takes a little psychology. It takes asking the questions the right way to get the information that we need."
Austin missed the majority of last year's training camp and the entire preseason due to a hamstring strain, and once again hasn't played in a preseason game this season. The Cowboys are expected to hold him out until the regular season opener.
Garrett said Austin's made progress every day and the team's priority is ensuring no re-injury occurs this season. He said Austin's hamstring problems never completely ceased when the Cowboys gave him a chance to secure a larger role within the offense between 2007 and 2009.
"He missed a lot of time at different points of those three seasons and during the season," Garrett said. "So, it's been something that he's been dealing with for a long time, and we're trying to, as a staff and as a medical staff, do the right things by him to make sure that these things go away a little bit."
With Austin's hamstring issue and Dez Bryant's patellar tendinitis, backup receivers Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Danny Coale and Cole Beasley have all received first-team reps.