FRISCO, Texas – Defensive lineman David Irving was excused from Thursday's practice for personal reasons, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones told reporters.
Jones said he anticipates that Irving will play Sunday night at Houston in what would be Irving's season debut coming off a four-game NFL suspension.
The Cowboys have a roster exemption for Irving this week but must make a roster move by Saturday if they intend to activate him for the primetime matchup against the Texans.
Irving got reps in both individual and team drills during Wednesday's practice – his first padded practice in nearly a full calendar year – and handled the work fine, head coach Jason Garrett said.
When available, Irving is a difference maker. He posted seven sacks in only eight games last year, missing the first four on league suspension and the last four with a concussion.
He was excused from this year's training camp and preseason to handle personal business and returned to The Star in mid-September to work out and start attending meetings again.
After so much time away, it's uncertain how many defensive snaps Irving would play if indeed he's active against Houston.
"He had a good, solid day yesterday," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said after Thursday's practice. "Conditioning is always going to be a factor. So we've got to see as the week goes on, and it's not so much wind as it is legs. Legs are everything. But we'll see as the week goes."