Phillips: Ratliff, Gurode Returns Will Help

Head coach Jason Garrett has good news for the middle of his offensive and defensive lines: Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff and Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode are expected to practice when the Cowboys get back to work Saturday at Valley Ranch.

Ratliff has missed the last few days with a sore hip. Gurode missed the entire two-week training camp in San Antonio following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Second-year nose tackle Josh Brent is a promising young player, but Ratliff's presence would have helped on the defensive starters' lone series Thursday night. The Cowboys allowed 40 yards on only six carries.

Second-year center Phil Costa has also done a nice job, but Gurode -- a nine-year veteran and five-time Pro Bowler -- will provide some stability on an O-line that's starting two rookies right now: left guard David Arkin and right tackle Tyron Smith.

Garrett said the Cowboys' remaining injured players -- guys like Keith Brooking (hamstring), Mike Jenkins (limited-stinger), Montrae Holland (back), DeMarco Murray (hamstring), Tashard Choice (calf) and Bruce Carter (knee) -- need some more time. Right now it's uncertain if any will play next week against San Diego. Terence Newman (groin) is expected to be out until September.

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