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Notes: Next Step For Dez At OTAs; R. McClain Update; Gathers Returns; More

IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant had a scheduled follow-up X-ray on the progress of his surgically-repaired right foot as the star receiver waits patiently to be cleared for more extensive football activity during the offseason program.

Bryant had surgery on his right foot and ankle in January and has been rehabbing with the team's athletic training staff.

"Hopefully he'll be cleared to take the next step and then we have to decide what that next step is," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said after Wednesday's OTA workout. "He's done a really good job in his rehab. He's been involved in some of the walk-through situations and I think he's benefited from that. He has not practiced. Once he does some of the walk-through stuff, he's really watching practice and doing his rehab on the side.

"All of that has gone well. We'll see how he does with that next examination and we'll make our decision from there."

Bryant's next step in his recovery could be more cutting in his running, a progression from straight-line running.

R. McClain, McFadden Miss OTA

Veteran linebacker Rolando McClain and running back Darren McFadden did not attend Wednesday's OTA workout due to respective family situations, Garrett said.

With McFadden absent, first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott took first-team reps at running back.

Garrett said McFadden might return for Thursday's OTA workout and he was "hopeful" McClain would return next week.

McClain also missed the first week of OTAs, but Garrett stressed that the workouts are voluntary. The only mandatory portion of the offseason program is the mandatory team minicamp in June.

"We want all of our players here," Garrett said. "Sometimes situations come up where they have to deal with things. In each of those cases, it's family situations. So we have to be respectful of that. We certainly want our players here. We believe in OTAs. We believe in the offseason program. It's not a mandatory time, though. It's a voluntary time. We try to be respectful of the situations they're dealing with."

Gathers Returns

Sixth-round pick Rico Gathers has returned to Valley Ranch for the second week of OTAs after missing the first week to complete his academic work at Baylor.

Gathers said he'll graduate in August with a degree in health and human performance. Now he's focused on his transition to tight end after a standout college basketball career as a power forward.[embeddedad0]

He did his best to stay in tune with the team's workouts last week.

"(Senior offensive assistant) Coach (Steve) Loney kept me involved," Gathers said. "Me and him talked after every practice for at least an hour, hour and a half at a time."

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