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Sun. Practice Recap: Three Defenders Leave With Injuries


OXNARD, Calif. – The injury bug flew through Oxnard on Sunday.

Photos from Sunday's afternoon padded practice in Oxnard.

No offensive players left with any injuries, but five defensive players left the field at one point or another, including Matt Johnson, Terrell McClain, DeVonte Holloman, Jeff Heath and Bruce Carter.

Carter and Heath were able to return to the field after their respective injuries. Carter said he'll probably need a cold tub after his legs tightened up and his knee began to bother him, but he said he felt fine after practice. When Heath came back on the field, he had his right hand heavily wrapped. 

"I hit it in between some helmets," Heath said. "I'm going to go get it checked out right now, but I've got all my grip, so it's fine."

The others weren't as lucky.

Injuries have prevented Johnson from playing in any regular season games since arriving in Dallas in 2012, and hamstring injuries in particular have limited him in the past. It was once again a hamstring injury that forced him off the practice field Sunday.

Safety Barry Church said he feels especially for Johnson.

"I felt really bad, because he worked so hard to get back to the point he was at," Church said. "It hurts kind of bad, but it feels like (as a team) we're in better shape than we were last year."

McClain's injury was to his ankle, and executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the ankle was bothering him some before he ever started practice. McClain left the field, sat on a cart and didn't return.

Jones said he thought Holloman was only dealing with dehydration, and he believed most of the injuries were only of the day-to-day variety. As Johnson knows, though, hamstring injuries can be tricky to deal with.

"You hate it for Matt," Jones said. "He's done everything right. We were just talking to our guys about him. He trained harder than he's ever trained, he eats right and he does all the right things. It's tough, and there's no one more frustrated than him."

In addition to the aforementioned players, Will Smith, Ben Gardner and Darrius Morris also missed practice Sunday. Smith's dealing with a groin injury, while Gardner hurt his shoulder.

Quick Hits:

  • One day after Morris Claiborne and Terrance Williams had a verbal, and nearly physical, exchange in 1-on-1 drills, Jason Witten did his share of talking Sunday with safety J.J. Wilcox. Witten beat Wilcox once over the middle and ran back to the huddle yelling, "All day! All day, J.J." The two kept jawing with Barry Church eventually stepping in to calm down Wilcox.

At the end of the drill, the two matched up again, with Witten winning on an out route, prompting a first-down signal from the veteran. Witten playfully pointed out Wilcox – the early favorite at safety opposite Church – has yet to make a play on him at camp, but he also complimented the safety.

"I really like J.J.," said Witten. "Those young guys are pretty good and they push me. Those matchups are good for me because they get me going and fired up. It's a good competition." [embedded_ad]

  • Former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, now an analyst with the NFL Network, was in attendance. Former wide receiver Billy Davis and the band Los Lonely Boys were also in attendance.
  • The speakers on the sidelined nearly met Dwayne Harris' face a day ago as the receiver got pushed out of bounds. They were moved back and away Sunday to make sure a similar scenario doesn't happen. 
  • The Dallas Cowboys practiced in front of 3,220 fans on Sunday, bringing the total attendance thus far to 11,002.

Notable Standouts:

  • Orlando Scandrick – The corner had a pick during one-on-one drills and made a couple nice pass deflections on the outside. He was the most consistent corner last year, and he's done well on the outside early in camp in the absence of Brandon Carr.
  • Lance Dunbar –The dump off and screen pass game to Dunbar should be exciting to watch this year if the offseason and start of camp are any indication. Dunbar took multiple short passes for long gains Sunday, showing off his speed.
  • Jeremy Mincey –Going against Tyron Smith can be a frustrating challenge for anyone, and the majority of those reps have been going to Mincey. But Mincey stood out Sunday by pushing Smith back during a 1-on-1 drill and using impressive power. It's not often you see Smith get knocked back.

Play of the Day:Speaking of Claiborne's battles on the outside, the corner broke up two passes going against Dez Bryant during one-on-one drills before Bryant got behind him on a nice move for a big completion. Bryant then turned to the media to make sure they got it on camera.

*Injury Report: Left Practice: *S Matt Johnson

LB DeVonte Holloman

DT Terrell McClainLeft Practice (and Returned):

LB Bruce Carter

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