FRISCO, Texas – Ezekiel Elliott made his much-anticipated return to the practice field on Wednesday, although the Cowboys were without five other starters.
Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving and Anthony Hitchens all sat out of Wednesday's outdoor practice, as the Cowboys began their preparations for their Christmas Eve game against Seattle.
Views of the Dallas Cowboys during Week 16 practice from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Four of those absences were expected. Smith and Hitchens were both injured in last week's win against Oakland, and the Cowboys are monitoring their situations as the week goes on. Collins has yet to miss a game this season, but he has been battling a back injury for the better part of a month and has missed several days of practice in order to manage the problem.
Irving suffered a concussion in the Week 13 win against Washington, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he once again won't practice Wednesday while he recovers. The third-year defensive tackle has not practiced since Nov. 28.
Lawrence's absence is a bit more unexpected. The fourth-year defensive end was named to his first career Pro Bowl on Tuesday evening, but he hadn't been listed with any injury coming out of Sunday's game. More information should be available when the Cowboys put out their Wednesday practice report later in the afternoon.
As for Elliott, it looked like business as usual for the All-Pro running back. Elliott returned from his six-week suspension on Monday morning and Wednesday marked his first opportunity to practice since coming back.
Garrett said Wednesday morning that he didn't anticipate Elliott would be limited in any way during his first day back on the field.
"We anticipate him just having a practice," Garrett said. "Obviously, like with all our players, we'll keep an eye on them and make sure they're handling the work. We anticipate him just practicing fully and getting acclimated back with his team.
Orlando Scandrick and Brice Butler were also on hand for Wednesday's practice after missing the last two games with back and foot injuries.
"Orlando will be limited, but he should be out there. Brice Butler should work his way back into practice," Garrett said.