SAN DIEGO – The Cowboys lost yet another running back in Thursday night's loss to the Chargers – but they'll gain two more the next time they take the field.
Rookie ball carrier Gus Johnson suffered an AC joint separation during his 13-carry, 35-yard effort in the 17-7 loss. Johnson said he'll be fine and that the injury isn't serious, though it remains to be seen what kind of plan Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will implement for him.
"He did bang up his shoulder and couldn't go back in the game," Garrett said. "It looks like he has an AC separation so we'll see how it is tomorrow."
That news is undoubtedly offset by the return of both Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar to practice on Saturday, which Garrett confirmed after the game.
It's been a long wait for McFadden, who has been unavailable since the Cowboys reported to training camp. He's been on the Physically Unable to Perform list for two weeks while he slowly rehabs an injured hamstring.
"We anticipate him practicing on Saturday," Garrett said of McFadden.
He said the same of Dunbar, who practiced the first week of camp before tweaking his ankle during full-team work on Aug. 5.
Both players took to the field at Qualcomm Stadium ahead of Thursday's game and underwent extensive workouts, testing their ability to cut and run on their injuries.
With any luck, that should give the Cowboys all three of their top running backs as they prepare for their second preseason game on Aug. 23 against San Francisco. Joseph Randle has been limited with a strain oblique and did not play against the Chargers, but he did suit up for the contest and isn't expected to miss significant time.
Time will tell the extent of Johnson's recovery process, but he didn't seem to be bothered by the injury in the postgame locker room. The rookie provided the Cowboys' only points of the night when he barreled into the end zone on a five-yard run in the second quarter.
"It felt great," he said. "It's one of those feelings you can't really describe. When you think about it, you start smiling."
Elsewhere on the roster, James Hanna was dealt a bad blow when he exited the game with a knee sprain. It's unclear what his timetable is as the Cowboys head into an off day on Friday.
Besides the duo of Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar, the Cowboys also have rookie draft pick Geoff Swaim and free agent signee Brandon Barden at the position.