IRVING, Texas – The defensive line should get a boost the week of the opener.
Henry Melton, Terrell McClain and George Selvie have all dealt with injuries through much of training camp and the preseason, but head coach Jason Garrett expects those injured linemen to get a full week of practice before the regular season opener.
"We're going to practice on Monday morning, and we anticipate those guys certainly to be involved in that practice, and hopefully they'll be 100 percent ready to go," Garrett said.
Also included in that list expected to practice next week is cornerback Morris Claiborne, who missed time throughout the preseason with knee and shoulder injuries. It's that latter injury that continues to bother him.
Claiborne's expected to play through it, but he anticipates needing a shot before the game. That may need to be the ritual for a while, as he anticipates the shoulder pain is something he may have to deal with all season.
"I have all my range of motion now," Claiborne said. "The biggest thing is going to be the pain – can you handle it, can you tolerate the pain? The pain is there and it's not going anywhere, so that's going to be the biggest thing."
Despite the knowledge that it may not feel fully healed for a while, Claiborne said the pain does lessen every day, but he'll still get the shot before the opener.
"Where I'm at right now, I'm happy," Claiborne said. "I'm in a good place with where I'm at right now."
As for the linemen, Melton was expected to get a little bit of work in the final preseason game, but the Cowboys thought better of it. He was recovering from an ACL surgery, but it was a groin injury he suffered late in camp that's held him out in recent weeks.
McClain missed the majority of camp with an ankle injury. Last week, he said running straight ahead wasn't an issue. Cutting was the problem, but another week off could have helped the ankle sprain. [embedded_ad]
Selvie landed on his right shoulder awkwardly against the Dolphins and has been out since. He said after the game he didn't think it was too serious and that he's played through shoulder pain before.
Melton, Selvie and McClain are all candidates to start for this defensive line, but they've yet to be seen together in the preseason. Add to that the injury to Claiborne, and the anticipated starting defenders have yet to get much action together as a group.
"You want them to have experience playing, and for a lot of different reasons, we haven't been able to do that," Garrett said. "Guys have been banged up, a couple of other situations that prevented guys from playing a full complement of snaps over the course of the preseason. But you live in the world that you do. What we have to do is give them as much work as we can leading up to the 49ers game to get them as ready as possible."