IRVING, Texas – Look for the Cowboys' roster depth to get another boost when they return to practice Wednesday afternoon.
After a full weekend to rest and recover, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expects to see several injured players return to work for the first practice in preparation for Sunday's game against Philadelphia. Chief among those are defensive backs Tyler Patmon and Jeff Heath, who have missed a combined five games with injuries.
"Hopefully Heath will be back, hopefully Patmon will be back on the practice field on Wednesday," Garrett said. "We'll see how those guys do, and maybe we'll have a chance to have those guys play this week."
Patmon suffered injuries to both his knee and his ankle during the tail end of the Cowboys' 31-17 win against Jacksonville on Nov. 9. Heath broke his thumb tackling Giants running back Andre Williams on Nov. 23, and he had surgery on the injury later that week.
Heath said before the Cowboys' trip to Chicago that he hoped to return to game action for the rematch against the Eagles. Wednesday's practice will be a good opportunity for him to test his readiness, as Garrett said the Cowboys will be fully padded.
Garrett also allowed that injured linebacker Dekoda Watson could potentially be available for practice this week, and he added that he anticipates that rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will be available, as well.
"We'll try to give each of those guys a chance on Wednesday and just see how they progress," he said.
If all four players return to work this week, the Cowboys' injury report should look thin heading into this critical game against Philadelphia. Those four were the only players who did not participate fully in practice heading into last week's game against Chicago.
The Cowboys didn't suffer any major injuries against the Bears, which means it's possible they could have a fully-available roster when they make the trip to Lincoln Financial Field.
Garrett also touched on an injury that hasn't been on the injury report. After the win against Chicago on Thursday night, Romo said he has been playing part of the 2014 season – despite that not being documented on the team's report.
Asked about it Monday, Garrett said Romo's rib problems haven't pertained to any broken bones, so much as the wear and tear that comes with playing quarterback.
"Sometimes, you deal with the cartilage issues with your ribs, but there was no fracture with his ribs," Garrett said. "The biggest issue with Tony has been his back, coming back from the surgery and when he got hurt again where he fractured the two transverse processes in his back. That's been the issue for Tony."
In an interview with 105.3 The Fan on Monday afternoon, Romo agreed with that assessment.
"I've been asked a little bit about the rib stuff, and it's just cartilage that you end up having issues with – really for your career," Romo said. "When you go through and you have stuff happen when you're younger, they just kind of pop up from time to time as you get older."
Asked about whether the NFL was still looking into the issue and whether it needed to be on the team's injury report, Garrett said "It seems like it's a non-issue."