IRVING, Texas – Several key starters who missed the preseason were on the practice field Monday as the Cowboys began their game week preparation for San Francisco.
After missing all four preseason games, Henry Melton, Morris Claiborne and Terrell McClain all participated in the morning session. Being a Monday, it was only a light practice – helmet and shorts – but the trio of players went through team stretch and the full allotment of individual drills during the open session.
Photos from Monday's practice at Valley Ranch.
Melton and Claiborne actually returned to practice last week – Melton returning from a groin injury that limited him for three weeks, while Claiborne nursed a shoulder sprain. The duo did not receive any reps in the preseason finale against Denver, however, and their status for Week 1 has been a question mark.
Meanwhile, McClain has missed virtually all of training camp, and not just the Cowboys' preseason games. An offseason acquisition, the defensive tackle sprained his ankle during the second padded practice of training camp in Oxnard, California, and rehabbed for the last month.
McClain said last week the gameplan was to test the ankle this week and see if he'd be good to go against the 49ers, who open the season against the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium. The bigger test will be if McClain sees any padded work during the competitive portions of this week's practice.
It has to be an encouraging sign for such a heavily-injured team that only one current starter, George Selvie, wasn't suited up for the Monday practice. Selvie continues to nurse a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason loss to Miami on Aug. 23. He went through rehab work on the sideline along with Anthony Spencer and Darrion Weems.
Also of note: Rolando McClain dressed for [embedded_ad]
practice, but he didn't appear to participate much in the early going. The linebacker had a wrap on his knee and sat out for the majority of individual drills, which is something that bears watching as the week goes on.
Number changesThe Cowboys' regular season roster looks slightly different now that the Cowboys have whittled it down to 53 players. Rookie corner Tyler Patmon wore No. 35 in training camp but has changed to No. 20 – the number of recently-released corner B.W. Webb. New safety addition C.J. Spillman is now wearing No. 37, and new guard Donald Hawkins will wear No. 62. Defensive end Lavar Edwards, who the Cowboys traded for on Saturday, will wear No. 95.
On the Cowboys' practice squad, rookie linebackers Will Smith and Keith Smith have switched to No. 58 and No. 57, respectively. Defensive end Kenneth Boatright has switched to No. 79, and new fullback Nikita Whitlock will wear No. 47.