FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have to be encouraged by the attendance at practice heading into their playoff bye week.
There's still plenty of work left to do before they kick off in the divisional round of the playoffs. But roughly 10 days out from that game, they saw a long list of injured players return for a bye week practice on Thursday.
Morris Claiborne, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton were all on hand for the first practice of this week off. It remains to be seen how much they participated, but it was certainly impressive to see so many missing players back on the field.
It's been more than two months since Claiborne injured his groin in the dying moments of the Oct. 30 win against Philadelphia. The fifth-year corner has been gradually working his way back from the injury, culminating in his availability for practice on Thursday.
Lawrence and Thornton have both been absent since the Dec. 18 win against Tampa Bay, as Lawrence is coping with a back problem and Thornton has an ankle injury. Lawrence told reporters he'd be available for the individual work at the outset of practice.
Crawford sat out of practice last week with shoulder and hamstring injuries, and he did not play against the Eagles. He said Wednesday afternoon he's still working his way through those problems, but he expects to be ready for next weekend's game.
With so much positive news on the injury front, it only left a handful of concerns still to watch. Tyron Smith did not participate in practice, as he instead worked on rehabbing his right knee with the Cowboys' athletic training staff. In the same vein, Terrell McClain was spotted rehabbing his sprained ankle, as well.
Justin Durant has been out in recent weeks with an elbow injury. He did not participate in practice, but he did dress out in uniform and undergo team stretch.
Tony Romo also did not participate in practice, though it was not injury-related. He sat out with an illness.
The Cowboys have another practice Friday morning, but – obviously – they won't be going through a game this weekend. With so many players returning to the field this week, it can only mean good things for their health moving forward.