IRVING (AP) — Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn went through some drills at practice for the first time all season Wednesday, a good indication the already dominant Dallas offense could have another weapon by the playoffs.
Glenn, out because of two knee operations, is not expected to play Sunday against the Eagles. He’s more likely to make his season debut the following Saturday at Carolina or in the regular-season finale at Washington. If the Cowboys get a first-round bye, Glenn would have four weeks of practice before the first playoff game.
Coach Wade Phillips said he’d like to see Glenn be able to tolerate several practices in a row before using him in a game.
“It’s a slow progression, certainly, but we want to be careful,” Phillips said. “He didn’t seem to be limping on his leg at all, so there were some positive signs from him being out there. He looked very quick. That was a good thing. … (After practice) he was still smiling. That’s my doctoring right there. If they’re smiling, they’re getting better.”
Cornerback Terence Newman missed team drills Wednesday because of a sprained big toe on his right foot and a slight knee injury. They’re new injuries, sustained this past Sunday, and not related to previous problems with his knee and heel.
“He might be able to practice tomorrow so I’m not too discouraged,” Phillips said. “But it may be a similar situation to what we’ve had all year, where he comes in as a sub guy instead of a starter.”
Glenn was supposed to be Tony Romo’s deep threat until he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during training camp. He was hurt again in his first practice back, leading to a second arthroscopic procedure in September. It wasn’t a typical scope, though, which is why he’s been so slow to return. At the time, he also was considering season-ending microfracture surgery.
Dallas has kept Glenn on the roster all season exactly for this scenario — a return just in time for the playoffs.
“Terry is an anomaly, he’s a guy that really can’t be covered one-on-one,” Romo said. “We’re going to see to what extent he comes back, obviously. If it’s the old Terry Glenn, this guy is unbelievable.”
Glenn caught 70 passes for 1,047 yards and six touchdowns last season, with his best days coming after Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe. So when Glenn went down in the preseason, it was expected to slow the Dallas offense.
The Cowboys have done just fine without him, though, leading the NFC in scoring and yards, and on pace to set club records in both categories. Still, they’re eager to have him back.
“It’ll be another guy for defensive teams to contend with,” fellow receiver Terrell Owens said. “Everyone knows the impact Terry Glenn (can have) and once he gets out there and gets his feet underneath him, I’m sure he’ll be back to his old self.”
Even at less than full strength he could hurt defenses that pay too much attention to Owens and Jason Witten. Of course, any extra attention paid to him would open things up for Owens and Witten.
Patrick Crayton has done a nice job filling in for Glenn as the No. 2 receiver and could keep that spot, with Glenn being the third receiver. Or perhaps they’ll share both jobs. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett probably won’t mind having to solve that problem.
“Terry’s a phenomenal talent,” Romo said. “Anything that he does, even if it’s 80 percent of what he was before, he’s still going to give you something good.”