DALLAS – Lance Dunbar spent his Tuesday afternoon putting smiles on faces at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas with WWE stars and fellow Cowboys teammates as part of Wrestlemania Week here in the Metroplex.
Dunbar was smiling, too. Nearly five months since a season-ending ACL and patellar injury to his left knee, the veteran running back's recovery is going well.
"It's doing good," he said. "I'm just taking it day by day, getting better. Just building days, stacking my days, just trying to get better each and every day. Because if you do that, at the end I'll be the best I can be."
Dunbar devoted his afternoon to visiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which provides a temporary home for families of seriously ill or injured children who are hospitalized or receiving treatment at a hospital in the Dallas area, according to the RMHD website.
He isn't putting a timeline on his return to the field in 2016. He's just happy to be back in Dallas on a new one-year contract after going through the free agent process at the start of the New League Year.
It's possible Dunbar could be cleared to practice sometime in training camp, or he could begin the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). In the meantime, the Cowboys have added depth behind last year's starter Darren McFadden by re-signing Dunbar and signing veteran Alfred Morris to a two-year deal.
Prior to injuring his knee in the fourth game of the 2015 season, Dunbar held the team lead in receptions (21 for 215 yards) as a versatile contributor out of the backfield. He said he has started jogging and making steady progress.
His strong relationship with the Cowboys and the medical and athletic training staff factored into his decision to return to Dallas. The Cowboys signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2012.
"They gave me an opportunity to play football," he said, "and these guys really understand my body, how I healed, and just my personality.
"We have a great staff, and I just believe in whatever those guys tell me to do."
The injury was a frustrating setback. But Dunbar watched his teammate Mo Claiborne return healthy last season from a torn patellar tendon suffered in 2014. He says he's fully focused mentally and physically on getting back 100 percent, too.
"Just taking it day by day," he said. "They don't want me to focus on the future. Just get better today and if I get better today I'll be better tomorrow. That's been my process my whole career. I'm up for the challenge.
"Everything happens for a reason, I really do believe that. And at the end of the day it's just going to make my story better, me coming back from all this."