IRVING, Texas - The long road to recovery for Mike Jenkins should end Saturday, when he's eligible to begin practicing for the first time since his shoulder surgery.
Head coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys gave Jenkins an in-house exam and forwarded that information to Dr. James Andrews, who gave the cornerback permission to return and avoid the Physically Unable to Perform List to begin the season.
Jenkins fought through injuries throughout 2011, including shoulder, hamstring and neck issues, to finish tied for the team lead with 10 pass deflections.
"He hasn't practiced a whole lot of football in a while," Garrett said. "Conditioning is certainly a factor, getting himself acclimated to just playing football is a factor. We'll evaluate him day by day. It's good to see that he is cleared. It's going to be good to have him out on the practice field on Saturday."
Garrett isn't concerned with how much Jenkins will play or how they'll use the fifth-year defensive back yet. He just wants to see him running in full pads with the team. Garrett said during training camp that Jenkins would have to practice before he could start playing in games.
"All we want to do with Mike Jenkins is get him back on the practice field, see how he's moving around," Garrett said. "We're not overly focused on any particular role that he has."
Jenkins started the last three seasons at right cornerback after winning the job in 2009. Following the acquisitions of first-round pick Morris Claiborne and free agent Brandon Carr, Jenkins role is still unclear this year. Garrett said he hasn't had any conversations with Jenkins about playing special teams.