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Mid-Day Report: Veterans Returning As Final Week Of Camp Begins

OXNARD, Calif. -- There should be some familiar faces on the field when the Cowboys practice on Tuesday afternoon – at least to start with.

Two days removed from Sunday's 23-6 loss to San Francisco, several of the Cowboys' absent starters should be back in the mix to start the final week of training camp in California.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said several key veterans – namely Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford and Nick Hayden – should work back into the mix. As might be expected, they won't jump right back into the grind, but they'll begin the process of getting ready.

"They'll do a little bit. See how they do in individual and make our decisions as practice goes along," he said.

On top of that, Garrett also said that Dez Bryant should have his heaviest workload Tuesday since he strained his hamstring during practice on Aug. 6. The Cowboys have used an abundance of caution with their top wide out, and are ready to work him into the individual portion of practice.

"A little more today – get involved in individual, and see how he does and how he responds to that," Garrett said.

That's an understandable strategy, with the all-important third preseason game approaching on Saturday evening. The Cowboys have been missing a large percentage of their first team for multiple weeks now, and the hope now turns toward bringing them back. To that end, Terrell McClain also participated in the morning walkthrough and could have an eye on a return this week.

It's still reasonable to expect a cautious approach, but the Cowboys should begin to have more hands on deck as training camp comes to a close.

Here are some more news and notes coming out of Tuesday's media session with Jason Garrett:

  • After two lighter practices to conclude last week's work, Garrett said the Cowboys will return to full pads for Tuesday's afternoons practice. There had been some concern that injury problems had limited some availability for a fully-padded practice, but the Cowboys should have enough players returning to alleviate those issues.
  • Both of the Cowboys' other remaining practices, on Wednesday and Thursday, are scheduled to be fully-padded before the team returns to Dallas on Friday.
  •  Anthony Hitchens won't be returning to the action right away, as Garrett said the linebacker will remain sidelined a few more days with a foot sprain. Rookie Damien Wilson, Andrew Gachkar and Kyle Wilber have shuffled around at multiple spots in his absence.
  • Greg Hardy missed the first half of Tuesday morning's walkthrough before joining the defense on the practice fields. Garrett said he is fine and isn't dealing with any injury issues.
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