Cowboys with one roster spot open

Going into the second preseason game Thursday night, the Cowboys will have 79 players on their roster -- one fewer than the 80-man limit for training camp.

The Cowboys are still looking at filling the roster spot, but it might not happen until after the game against the Raiders.

One player the Cowboys might get is tight end Martin Rucker. The Cowboys put a claim on him Tuesday when he was cut by Philadelphia, but Tampa Bay also put a claim in and has priority over the Cowboys because of its record last season (3-13).

However, Rucker was waived/injured on Wednesday. Apparently he has a leg injury, and now the Cowboys can sign him if they want.

Dallas will have 12 players who will be unavailable because of a current injury or rehabbing an injury. The Cowboys have two players, Dez Bryant and Marcus Spears, who might not return until the end of the month and another, John Phillips, who will go in injured reserve once the team cuts its roster to 75 on Aug. 31.

There is uncertainty regarding the return of Stephen Hodge, who missed all of last year after undergoing microfracture surgery. Hodge might return to practice once the team gets to Oxnard, Calif., on Saturday. Hodge said he's not sure when he'll return, saying its up to the trainers.

Bryan McCann is not on the injured list, but he has a sore chest and could play Thursday night. He did practice Wednesday.

Sean Lee, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Martellus Bennett should return for the third preseason game Aug. 21 at San Diego.

Before all that can happen, coach Wade Phillips has to get through Thursday's game with the bulk of his team healthy and have the front office get him one more player to fill the roster.