FRISCO, Texas – The week off appears to have done the Cowboys a world of good, as the vast majority of their roster participated in a light practice on Monday.
Dez Bryant, Lance Dunbar, Chaz Green, Orlando Scandrick, Morris Claiborne and DeMarcus Lawrence were all on hand for the team's first practice following the bye week. The only absences among the active roster were Tyron Smith and Tony Romo, both of whom continue to recuperate from back injuries.
That's got to be considered good news as the Cowboys prepare for a crucial divisional matchup against Philadelphia. Bryant missed three consecutive games with the knee injury he suffered Sept. 25 against Chicago, but he has now been present at two consecutive practices dating back to last week. Lawrence also returned to action after undergoing an MRI on a shoulder injury he suffered in the Week 6 win against Green Bay.
Claiborne was also hurt in the win against the Packers, as he suffered a concussion in the first half. After eight days off, however, he was suited up and participating for the first practice of this week – albeit it was not fully-padded.
Smith is the name to monitor as the week continues to move along. The All-Pro left tackle has been battling a back problem for most of the season, and it even went as far as to hold him out of two games. It seems like a safe bet that Smith will ramp up his participation as Sunday draws closer, but it's still a situation worth monitoring.
Romo's absence probably counts as news, but it's hardly surprising. The Week 8 game against the Eagles was long targeted as his return date from a broken vertebrae, but that projection has shifted in the last month or so. It's been widely speculated that the veteran quarterback might return to practice soon with an eye on the Nov. 6 game against Cleveland, but the Cowboys have not set a definitive timetable on his return to team activities.
Elsewhere, James Hanna came out to the field for some rehab and conditioning work. The fifth-year tight end is eligible to return to practice after missing the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but he has not yet done so.
Darren McFadden, who was also ineligible through the first six weeks of the season, was not present at practice.