FRISCO, Texas – Three players sat out as the Cowboys began their first practice of preparation for the Giants on Wednesday.
The vast majority of the roster was available for the morning practice, but Tony Romo, Charles Tapper and Mark Nzeocha were all absent while coping with their respective injuries.
Those aren't new problems. Nzeocha is still recovering from the Achilles strain he suffered in the preseason win against Miami, and Tapper is still working his way back from the fracture in his back that has sidelined him since training camp.
Romo is the obvious focal point, as he will continue to be absent with the fractured vertebrae he suffered in the preseason loss to Seattle. On Tuesday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he didn't plan to place Romo on injured reserve during his recovery, and coach Jason Garrett reiterated that stance Wednesday morning.
"In Tony's case, the IR term is for eight weeks and we feel like, given what the injury is and the progress he's made, we feel at this point we don't want to do that," Garrett said. "We don't want to eliminate him from eight weeks of our schedule. He's making progress."
If the Cowboys had opted to place Romo on IR, he would have been ineligible to play in any games until Week 9 against Cleveland at the earliest. With Romo remaining on the active roster, he can return earlier if his recovery allows for it.
"Initially, when he had the injury, he was pretty immobilized," Garrett said. "Over the course of the last week or so he's gotten better and better and better."
Elsewhere, the Cowboys were joined by another new face during Wednesday's practice. Defensive end Chris McCain signed to the practice squad Wednesday morning, and was practicing wearing the No. 40.
The addition of McCain fills the 10-man practice squad for the time being. The Cowboys are currently carrying six of their roster cuts from training camp, as well as four new signees – McCain, defensive end Zach Moore, offensive tackle Keavon Milton and linebacker Jeremiah George.
McCain signed undrafted with the Dolphins following the 2014 NFL Draft. He played 19 total games for Miami in two seasons, registering two career sacks. The Dolphins traded McCain to New Orleans just last week, though he was subsequently cut just five days later.