IRVING, Texas – The injury list should be slightly shorter when the Cowboys conclude their Thursday practice.
A grand total of 15 players were reported on Wednesday's injury report, but several of those returned to work for the second practice of the week.
Chief among those was Dez Bryant, who got his first work of the week. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Bryant is dealing with injuries to both his knee and his foot, but he was optimistic about his prospects as the week goes on.
"It's probably more than knee right now, but he's still coming off the foot as we know," Garrett said. "We anticipate he'll get better and better as the week goes on."
Joining Bryant in the offensive huddle were both of Wednesday's absentee running backs. Christine Michael and Rod Smith both sat out the first practice of the week with illnesses, but both ball carriers were back in action by Thursday morning.
Three other injury concerns returned to the practice fields, though they did not participate in any football activities. Nick Hayden, Brice Butler and Anthony Hitchens all worked separately with the Cowboys' strength and conditioning staff as they attempt to return in time for the weekend trip to Tampa.
Garrett said he's hopeful all three will be able to increase their workload as the week goes along.[embeddedad0]
Two of the defense's biggest contributors sat out their second day of practice on Thursday. Sean Lee is still absent from practice while he goes through NFL concussion protocol, and it seems increasingly unlikely that he'll make his way back in time for Sunday. Barry Church was also absent while he copes with the ankle injury that has pestered him for several weeks now.
Tony Romo can't re-join the roster until next week, but he did take part in Thursday's practice – as anticipated. Romo threw with backs and receivers during the early part of practice, and Garrett said the Pro Bowler would likely get some work during the team portion of practice.