Practice Update: Murray Sits Out With An Illness; Rolando McClain Returns

IRVING, Texas – DeMarco Murray stayed home from the Cowboys' Christmas Day practice, but it wasn't on account of an injury.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said his feature running back came down with an illness, which held him out of the day's on-field activities.

"He is not here today," Garrett said. "He was here earlier. He is sick so we sent him home."

It might not be ideal, but the Cowboys at least appear to have put Murray's hand injury in the rearview mirror. It's been 10 days since Murray had surgery on his broken metacarpal, and he practiced fully in the team's Wednesday practice on Christmas Eve.

Murray might have missed, but Rolando McClain returned to practice after missing Wednesday. McClain's home in Alabama caught fire earlier this week, and the Cowboys gave him Wednesday off to attend to that matter – though he didn't actually return to Alabama.

McClain's return gives the Cowboys back the vast majority of their hampered defenders for this weekend's trip to Washington D.C. Josh Brent was at practice for the second-straight day, as he continues to work back from a calf injury.

"He did a good job yesterday. Hopefully he can have a regular practice today," Garrett said.

The only absent defender continues to be Dekoda Watson, who is still missing with a hamstring injury.

Doug Free worked out in the team weight room during Thursday's practice. He doesn't look likely to return from his ankle and foot injuries this week, as Jermey Parnell continues to work with the starters at right tackle.

In keeping with his usual routine, Tony Romo also returned to the practice field Thursday.

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