FRISCO, Texas – On Aug. 18, there was a fear that Zack Martin, the Cowboys’ All-Pro guard could be out for a while, perhaps even the entire season.
Just 10 days later, he was practicing again with the team as the Cowboys finished up their final training camp practice with a morning session at The Star in Frisco.
No brace. No protective sleeve. Not even a wrap on the knee that was injured in the second quarter of the Cowboys’ preseason game with the Bengals.
Obviously, that’s great news for the Cowboys, especially considering the team will likely be without center Travis Frederick for several weeks. But Martin said he didn’t want to have that long of a rest period before the Sept. 9 opener in Carolina.
“It felt great. Like I’ve said, I really didn’t want to go an extended time without being out there,” Martin said on Tuesday after practice. “It’s such a routine with training camp and if you’re out a certain amount of time, you can lose it pretty quickly. I wanted to get out there and get the reps and make sure I stay sharp for the opener.”
Martin added that he “feels great … I’m ready to roll.”
Not only did he take all of the reps in practice at guard, but Martin even took a few snaps at center, just in case he would be needed in a game now that Frederick is out and backup Joe Looney will be starting.
“Yeah, obviously with Travis being out, just kind of an emergency guy if anything were to happen,” Martin said. “Making sure I can get that done.”
Other observations from Thursday’s final open training camp practice at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco this year:
Wide receiver has been among the most competitive position battles in camp, and Deonte Thompson is doing his best to make a final impression. Thompson made his preseason debut last Sunday against the Cardinals and came up with several plays in Tuesday’s practice. He got past Chidobe Awuzie on a go-route and Dak Prescott found him in stride for a 40-yard gain. Later in team drills, Thompson and Prescott connected again on a jump ball for about a 30-yard gain.
· Defensive tackle Maliek Collins did not play the first three preseason games and would seem unlikely to play Thursday against the Texans, but he did get some reps in team drills Tuesday as he continues to work his way back from offseason foot surgery. That’s an encouraging sign for his availability in the Sept. 9 season opener at Carolina.
· Travis Frederick wore a jersey to Thursday’s practice and watched on the side. Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome last week and there’s no timetable for his return to the field yet, but head coach Jason Garrett said the Pro Bowl center has begun working out some and rejoined the team in meetings.
· Joe Looney continued to line up at first-team center in Frederick’s place. Recently-signed center Jacob Ohnesorge worked as the second-team center.
· Key starters Tyron Smith and Sean Lee got an apparent veteran’s rest day. Smith had a slight hamstring issue last week and did not play against the Cardinals, but the injury isn’t considered serious.
· Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (groin) did not practice again, though the Cowboys are hopeful he’ll be back soon.
· Dan Bailey was a perfect 5-of-5 on kicks from approximately 40, 42, 45, 47 and 49 yards.