FRISCO, Texas – Justin Durant returned to practice Wednesday, but the Dallas defense still looked a bit short-handed.
Of the Cowboys' four absences for their first practice of Week 14, three came on the defensive side of the ball. Even with Durant working his way back into the activities, Morris Claiborne, J.J. Wilcox and Orlando Scandrick were all absent.
Scandrick's absence isn't injury-related, as he is coping with a death in the family.
Claiborne is still missing with the groin injury he suffered on Oct. 30, while Wilcox is working his way back from the thigh contusion from the Thanksgiving win against Washington. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said on Tuesday he was optimistic Wilcox would be available for this weekend's trip to face the Giants.
Chaz Green was also absent on Wednesday, as he continues to work back from the injuries that have sidelined him on Oct. 2. Green suffered a foot sprain in that Week 4 win against San Francisco, but he has also been listed with a back injury on the Cowboys' weekly practice reports.
Meanwhile, Durant's return from a hamstring strain bolsters the Cowboys' linebacker depth. Durant and Anthony Hitchens have typically platooned the middle linebacker spot this season, though Hitchens played arguably the best game of his season last week in Durant's absence.
There was speculation Tuesday that Randy Gregory might be eligible to practice on Wednesday, as part of his return from suspension on Dec. 19. However, reports surfaced indicating that the NFL had ruled against Gregory practicing. Garrett confirmed Wednesday morning that the second-year defensive end would not be on the field.