DALLAS – When the Cowboys take the field next week for the first of four OTA weekly sessions, rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne expects to be out there – in some capacity at least.
Claiborne knows he won't be ready to fully participate with his new teammates in terms of the drills or definitely the team activity, but the Cowboys' first-round pick is certainly chomping at the bit to get back.
The rookie from LSU is recovering from a wrist injury that required surgery in March and had him wearing a hard cast when he rolled through Valley Ranch for the rookie minicamp early this month.
Recently, Claiborne had the pins taken out of his wrist and has been reduced to a soft cast, which he wore Wednesday during an event with the Cowboys' rookie club, which served food at The Salvation Army's homeless shelter in Dallas.
Claiborne said his soft cast will be removed on Monday and hopes to at least be on the field for some conditioning work. The cornerback said he wear a "little splint cast" that can be taken on and off.
"I'm so eager and ready," Claiborne said of getting back on the field. "It's hard sitting there and watching and knowing you can do it, but you've got one small thing that's wrong with you and holding you back. But I'm looking forward to it and I'm trying to push that up."
What Claiborne is trying to push is that overall timetable of his return, which initially was the start of training camp. And more than likely, that probably hasn't and won't change from the Cowboys' perspective.
While he might be able to run through some drills during some OTA practices towards the end of the month and he could even be cleared for some work during the June 12-14 minicamp at Valley Ranch, don't expect the Cowboys' athletic training staff to hurry his return at all. Making sure the team's first-round pick is healthy and ready to go for the start of training camp in late July will always be the ultimate goal.
During next week's OTA practices, the Cowboys will likely be without two of their top three cornerbacks as Mike Jenkins continues to rehab from arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Newly-acquired free agent Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick should be the top two cornerbacks, along with a host of younger players, including Mario Butler, who spent last year on the practice squad. The Cowboys also have speedy Teddy Williams and two rookie free agents – Isaac Madison and Lionel Smith.