OXNARD, Calif. – Heading into Saturday's practice in Oxnard, there was some growing optimism about the status of Darren McFadden, who even said earlier in the week there was a chance he could return to practice.
Instead, it's going to be at least one more week before the Cowboys get to see the veteran running back on the field as he nurses a hamstring injury.
Head coach Jason Garrett said he will continue to ease into practice, and won't return in time for Sunday's Blue-White Scrimmage or even the preseason opener next Thursday in San Diego.
"We anticipate his plan to be that he'll get more and more work on the side as we go this week and then hopefully practice after the San Diego game," Garrett said on Saturday. "That might change, but that's the plan as we sit right now."
McFadden injured the hamstring a week before training camp in mid-July and has spent the first 10 days of camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform).
The Cowboys are somewhat thin at running back now with McFadden's absence, coupled with Lance Dunbar sitting out the last two days with an ankle injury, leaving just Joseph Randle getting first-team reps.
On Friday, McFadden said he felt "ready to go" and was hopeful he would get the chance to practice this week.[embeddedad0]
But when asked if the move to keep the veteran out of action was precautionary, Garrett thought there was a better word for it.
"It's just being very deliberate with his rehab and making sure a guy who has these soft tissue injuries, we want to make sure they're really ready to go before we put them back out there," Garrett said. "Darren has done a very good job staying engaged with our team, very good in meetings, very good in walkthroughs, he's around it, he understands it. We just want to make sure he's ready to go before we put him out there."