OXNARD, Calif. – Every sentence that mentions phrases and words like "high hopes" or "expectations" typically has those trailing words as a common qualifier.
"If they can stay healthy."
The Cowboys certainly have talent but avoiding injuries, or at least the major ones, is always a high priority.
On the first day of practice here in Oxnard, the Cowboys had a few small setbacks to a few prominent players.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant limped off the field and into the locker room with a knee injury, causing quite a scare for a moment. But he returned after a few minutes, much to the excitement of the energetic fans. Bryant got back into practice and should be fine.
The same goes for rookie Morris Claiborne, who limped his way around the final hour of practice, even sitting out for a few drills, replaced by Orlando Scandrick.
Claiborne had a quick chat with head athletic trainer Jim Maurer on the field before meeting with reporters. It's probably no coincidence Claiborne was rather mum on his injury.
"It's really nothing more than being sore," Claiborne said. "There wasn't a specific spot. I'm just sore. I've got to get my legs back underneath me. I'm not going to make any excuses about anything, or being rusty. I just have to keep working."
Claiborne said he will be back for Tuesday's practice.
As for guard/center Bill Nagy has an ankle injury that needs X-rays. He went to the locker room and never returned to finish practice. Nagy gingerly walked off the getting checked out by the athletic trainers for a few minutes before they decided to walk into the locker room.
Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff did not participate in the afternoon practice, instead working with the trainers on his conditioning. Ratliff has been bothered by a nagging foot injury of plantar fasciitis that limited him all summer.