ARLINGTON, Texas –Mike Jenkins won't see Dr. James Andrews for a reevaluation of his shoulder injury until Sept. 2, three days before the Cowboys face the New York Giants, which casts serious doubt on his availability for the season opener, even if he is cleared.
That late date leaves him only one day to practice with teammates, Sept. 3, since the team will be traveling on Sept. 4. The Sept. 3 session will not be in pads, meaning Jenkins won't have hit anyone or been hit in the shoulder since New Year's Day. The Cowboys may need to see him work out in contact drills before he plays, and they definitely won't let him play without practicing at all.
"He needs to be able to practice football before he plays in Game One," head coach Jason Garrett said Thursday. "We don't have these hard and fast rules, if he doesn't practice by this minute of this day, he can't play in the game. That is not the way we do it. (But) we value practice. We value getting our guys ready to play. So, we understand the challenge he has coming back, having missed all the offseason and all of training camp, and we will treat his circumstance very individual and very specifically. But we believe in practice.
"Football is really, really challenging at this level. You can't go out there and play if you haven't prepared the right way. We understand that. We have no drop-dead date in particular, but we understand he has to practice before he is ready to play. We wouldn't put him out there unless he was ready."
The question marks surrounding Jenkins' availability would seem to increase the odds that the Cowboys go a little long at cornerback. Final cuts are due on Aug. 31.