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Signs Point Towards Costa Returning To Lineup At Center

IRVING, Texas – For all but three plays of the season, the Cowboys have had Ryan Cook starting at center.

However, he's never actually been called the team's "starting center" because of Phil Costa's back injury that led to an early exit in the Giants game. Since then, the Cowboys have been rather mum on their direction at the position – probably because it was up in the air.

But this week against the Ravens, it appears the Cowboys are going back to Costa as the starter against a Baltimore defense that has perennial Pro Bowlers, including massive defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Costa has taken most of the first-team reps this week. Part of that is because Cook is dealing with his own injury issues. The seven-year veteran missed practice on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and was just limited for Friday's walkthrough with a hamstring injury.

Costa, meanwhile has practiced each day and appears to be recovered from a nagging back injury that bothered him in training camp and the preseason. He was able to come back for the preseason finale against Miami as the only offensive starter in the game, just to get a few reps for the start of the season. However, three snaps into the Giants game, Costa's back flared up again and he has yet to return to action.

Coach Jason Garrett said on Friday he is hopeful both Costa and Cook can be ready to play Sunday in Baltimore. If Costa starts, Cook could give the Cowboys some backup potential at both center and guard, a position he's played before during his career with the Vikings.

Costa, an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Maryland, said he has a few friends and family coming to the game this weekend. He declined to comment on his playing status for Sunday, but said he "feels pretty good" when asked about the back injury.

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