IRVING, Texas – Rolando McClain returned to practice on Thursday, though Tony Romo was once again absent with his back contusion.
McClain showed up on the injury report with a shoulder problem Wednesday after missing the first practice of the week. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he believed it was an injury sustained during the Monday night loss to Washington.
"He started feeling it over the last 48 hours or so," Garrett said. "We anticipate him doing something today, the extent of which we don't know yet."
The Cowboys were not fully-padded for Thursday's session, but they did wear helmets and shoulder pads as they continue their prep for Arizona. Garrett said the more physical nature of Thursday, as opposed to Wednesday's walkthrough, would help determine McClain's readiness for Sunday.
As for Romo, the quarterback missed his second-consecutive day of practice after taking a knee to his back on Monday night. Garrett classified the problem as a bone contusion on Thursday, and he said Romo's status for the Cardinals game continues to be "day-by-day."
"Don't anticipate him doing much, but we hope that he's going to be out there and be able to do something. We'll see as the day goes on," Garrett said.
Romo was not present for the media portion of practice, which encompasses the first 20 minutes of the session. Garrett also reiterated Romo's point from Wednesday, that this injury is unrelated to prior ones and doesn't pose a threat to become a longterm problem.
"We don't think that's the nature of this injury. As much as anything else, it's being able to handle the pain to the point where he can function and do his job," Garrett said. "And that's where we are and we'll see how he does over the next few days to answer that question."
[embeddedad0]Offensive linemen Doug Free and Ronald Leary were also absent from practice. Leary suffered a groin strain on Monday, and Garrett said he's optimistic the third-year guard will be able to work his way into practice this week. Free is continuing to recover from the foot fracture he suffered against Seattle on Oct. 12.
The Cowboys' three new signings, linebacker Tim Dobbins and practice squad players Will Smith and Jeff Baca, were also at practice. Dobbins, who was signed to replace Justin Durant, will wear No. 48. Smith, a seventh-round draft pick by the team back in May, will wear No. 40. Baca, a guard who was signed Wednesday evening, will wear No. 62.