While the Cowboys would like to have a full unit of starters to participate in Saturday's dress rehearsal preseason game in Minnesota, they will be limited because of injuries.
However, there could be more starters and significant backups available to play this week than in the first two preseason games. Here's a rundown of a few injured players and their status for Saturday's game and the upcoming days before the start of the season:
RB Tashard Choice – Back to practice this week from a hamstring injury, Choice is one of the players head athletic trainer Jim Maurer said would be closely evaluated after Thursday's practice and Friday's walk-through. The expectations are that Choice would be able to play Saturday night in Minnesota, in a limited role.
LB Keith Brooking – In the same boat as Choice, Brooking returned this week from a nagging hamstring pull that occurred early in camp. The veteran linebacker is expected to play this week against the Vikings.
RB DeMarco Murray – This has been his first week of NFL practice after being cleared this week. A hamstring injury wiped out nearly a month of work but the rookie tailback has a chance to play Saturday night against the Vikings, likely with limited touches on offense and special teams.
WR Miles Austin – After missing last week's preseason game with the Chargers, Austin returned to practice Tuesday, only to re-tweak his hamstring injury. Austin hasn't practiced any more this week and his chances of playing in Minnesota appear to be slim. However, the Cowboys don't seem worried about Austin being ready for the Sept. 11 opener against the Jets.
PK David Buehler – The third-year kicker has been bothered by a hip injury, forcing the Cowboys to sign veteran Shayne Graham. Buehler did some light kicking this week, but probably won't play against Minnesota.
G Montrae Holland – The veteran guard has missed nearly three weeks with a back/knee injury. He's used that time off to work on his conditioning as well. With Bill Nagy and David Arkin working in at left guard, Holland will have a fight on his hands to win the starting job, or even keep a roster spot. He'll likely work back into practice next week.
CB Terence Newman – The timetable for his return continues to be Sept. 11 against the Jets. The cornerback suffered a groin injury early in camp but has started to run and jog this week during his rehab.
CB Mike Jenkins – Still no live contact for the starting right corner, who has been bothered by a lingering stinger injury. While Jenkins has returned to practice the last two days, he hasn't been cleared for contact. Therefore, he likely won't play against the Vikings on Saturday.
LB Kenwin Cummings – The linebacker suffered a thumb injury that required minor surgery. Wearing a protective cast on his left hand, Cummings is likely out for a few more days and likely won't play in Minnesota.