The first time rookie linebacker Bruce Carter can return to practice will be Wednesday Oct. 19. And the second-round pick from North Carolina said he fully expects to be doing just that.
Carter took a positive step in that direction on Tuesday when he spent most of his rehab session with his shoulder pads and helmet in attempt to simulate live action as soon as possible. Carter is not eligible to come off the non-football injury list until after the sixth week of the season. The Cowboys put him on the list to rehab his torn ACL injury he suffered in the last month of his senior season at North Carolina.
"It was the first time since November," Carter said of being in pads, which he added was the biggest difference to his rehab. "Just wearing these shoulder pads more than anything. My shoulder kind of got tired. But (wearing) the helmet was good."
When asked about his anxiousness to finally get back to practice again and play, Carter didn't even wait for the question to get completely asked.
"Very. Very anxious," said Carter, who is targeting the Oct. 23 game vs. St. Louis as his pro debut. "It's going to be very exciting for me and family."
Now if there was a game this week and he was eligible to play, Carter said he could be out there, at least on special teams and possibly a defensive sub-package. Carter said he has attended special teams meeting since training camp.
"I know definitely special teams I can play that," Carter said. "But I'll probably get in some kind of package and not jump into the whole thing right off the gun to work my way in."
Carter said he doesn't expect to wear any kind of knee brace when he returnes to practice or the games. To add Cater to the 53-man roster, the Cowboys will have to release a player from the current roster.