IRVING, Texas – The injury issues of just a week ago seemed like a distant memory when the Cowboys took the field Wednesday for a Christmas Eve practice.
DeMarco Murray and Zack Martin, both of whom played through injury last week – and both of whom earned Pro Bowl selection on Tuesday night – were present and participating as the Cowboys began preparations for Sunday's game against Washington.
Doug Free was still missing with the ankle injury he suffered against Philadelphia, but two of the offense's three big injury concerns appear to be ready to go for the season finale and the postseason.
"We're practicing and playing, and we're getting ready to play our best football game against Washington on Sunday," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett in response to questions about sitting his injured players.
Murray is nine days removed from surgery on his left hand, but it's hardly surprising to see him in a non-contact practice – he practiced all last week and played Sunday against Indianapolis, after all. Martin did not practice last week, but he made it through the Colts game without further problem to his twisted ankle.
"I think maybe more than anything else it's a reflection on the guys that we have," Garrett said. "We talk a lot about the character of our players, the makeup of our players. How important football is to them. How mentally and physically tough they are."
Garrett said the Cowboys will continue to monitor Free's health as the week goes along. In the meantime, Jermey Parnell will continue to work with the starting offensive line.
Rolando McClain was absent Wednesday, but it wasn't because of an injury. McClain's home in Alabama burned down earlier this week, and Garrett said he was absent while dealing with that.
Fellow linebacker Dekoda Watson also sat out with his lingering hamstring injury. Tony Romo sat out in keeping with his season-long routine of working out individually during Wednesday practices.
Josh Brent returned to the practice field after missing two weeks with a calf strain.