As expected, the Dallas Cowboys welcomed Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back to practice on Thursday. Romo experienced tightness in his back and skipped practice on Wednesday, while Bryant rested a sore shoulder. Both players are expected to play on Sunday.
The news wasn't as good on middle linebacker Rolando McClain. He was absent today with a groin injury, and if he doesn't go tomorrow he might miss this Sunday.
"We certainly have confidence in his ability to play, but we believe in practice," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He has to practice this week in some way, shape or form for us to believe that he can play in the game, so hopefully as the week goes on, he’s able to do get out there and get some snaps."
"We don’t have these hard and fast rules. But you just kind of make sure these guys have a chance to have success. So he’s in the meetings and he’s participating in the meetings. So mentally and emotionally he’s getting himself ready to play. But we’ll see what he’s physically able to do."
Also missing from practice is Justin Durant who is expected to be out for a few more weeks. If McClain has to miss the game, then it will be a real juggling act at linebacker. The starters would likely be Bruce Carter, Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber according to the reports coming out of practice. Even though Wilber has seen most of his playing time as a pass-rushing defensive end, he'll have to shift back to linebacker, most likely on the strongside. Hitchens would take over the middle and Carter would shift back over to the weakside. Carter and Hitchens would be the nickel linebackers.
Orlando Scandrick was reported to be playing the nickel corner in practice so far, so Morris Claiborne might possibly start for another week. Joesph Randle (concussion) and Davon Coleman (calf) both missed practice for the second straight day.