OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys' first preseason game Monday against the Raiders likely won't feature Morris Claiborne, who's eyeing his debut in the second exhibition contest on Aug. 18 against the Chargers.
Wrist surgery held Claiborne out of the beginning of the offseason, and he practiced only a few days in training camp before spraining his MCL in his left knee last Wednesday. He couldn't finish Friday's practice after an off day Thursday.
He said he plans on playing in the preseason, needing repetitions to prepare himself for the regular season opener against the Giants.
"I'm just doing what the training staff wants me to do right now," Claiborne said. "It looks like I'll be holding out for Monday, won't be playing Monday, but looking forward to that next week.
"I know what's at stake. I know what I have to do. I'm not going to sell myself short by not paying attention and not doing what I need to do to get back on the field."
The first round pick said he'll likely wear a sleeve on his knee for protection. He's putting his trust in the training staff to let him know when he's safe to return, so he doesn't miss more practice time than necessary.
The Cowboys staff doesn't seem concerned Claiborne will be out long. Head coach Jason Garrett said he hopes Claiborne can practice at some point before the Oakland game or shortly after.
"We think in the short period of time that Morris Claiborne has practiced, he's picked things up really well," Garrett said. "He missed so much time in the offseason. He's missed a lot of time here in camp. We're pleased with what we've seen from him in the limited practices he's had."
Claiborne went through walkthroughs Thursday morning but won't practice in the afternoon session. He said he'll try to put on pads Friday.
"It sounds like I'm repeating this over again from a couple months ago, but it felt good just to get in there and get the mental reps and stay on top of that," Claiborne said.