FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys welcomed some familiar faces back to practice as they started preparations for Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Tyron Smith was padded up and participating for the first time since Sept. 23, when he was added to the Cowboys' injury report with a back issue. Smith has missed two consecutive games, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said his Wednesday workload will be limited.
Smith was joined by Orlando Scandrick, who Garrett said "will probably do the most" of any of his limited players.
That duo accounts for two of the Cowboys' multiple injured starters. Neither Dez Bryant nor Dan Bailey was present at practice. Chaz Green, who started at left tackle in Smith's absence these past two weeks, also sat out with a foot sprain.
"We don't anticipate him practicing today, but it has gotten better over the last couple of days," Garrett said.
The tackle situation will be something to monitor as the week goes on, considering that two of the Cowboys' top three tackles are currently dealing with injuries. Garrett said the coaching staff has multiple contingency plans if either Smith or Green is unavailable – though he obviously wasn't ready to make that determination.
"All hands are on deck on the offensive line. Doug Free has been a guy that can play both sides, Zack Martin can play out there, Emmett Cleary is a guy who's an option for us as we go," he said. "But again, we'll take those guys' situations day-by-day. Hopefully as the week progresses they'll get better and better."
Bailey's back injury also puts the Cowboys in an interesting situation, since they have just one kicker. Garrett said the plan is to rest Bailey on Wednesday and hope he progresses as the week goes on.
"He probably will not kick today and so hopefully over the next couple days he'll feel better and better," he said. "He did a good job in the game dealing with that. Woke up in the morning in San Francisco and said his back wasn't really right."
In the meantime, Garrett said it's not Chris Jones, but Jeff Heath who would function as the team's backup kicker in a pinch.
Unrelated to injury, but also of note was the return of DeMarcus Lawrence to the practice field. Lawrence has finished his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy and was back to practice on Wednesday morning. Garrett said the Cowboys will ease him in as best they can, keeping an eye on his readiness and conditioning.
Lawrence has been eligible to attend meetings and work out at the team facility while he waited to return to action.
"We're hopeful he's going to be able to handle the work today and progress as it goes on," Garrett said. "He's certainly an experienced player. He had a really good training camp. He has some reps under his belt but he's just got to get himself acclimated."
Linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who has been battling an Achilles strain since the preseason, was also present at practice.