IRVING, Texas – It appears that Jerry Jones’ optimism about Miles Austin’s return from a strained hamstring was at least a week premature.
Jones said earlier this week that he expected Austin to play Sunday, but that seems extremely unlikely after Austin missed another practice Thursday. Austin has not practiced or played since straining his right hamstring in the Nov. 6 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
“It doesn’t look as good as I thought it was going to look from the long weekend that we had,” Jones said. “But we should be and are giving him the time, all the time that we can. If he doesn’t go, of course, we’ve got business as usual with the complement of receivers that we have out there.”
Austin has missed five games with hamstring injuries this season. He missed two games after injuring his left hamstring in the Sept. 18 win over the San Francisco 49ers, when he had nine catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns. He does not have a 100-yard game or touchdown since then and has been sidelined the last three games.
The emergence of Laurent Robinson, a fifth-year veteran signed by the Cowboys in September after he was cut by the San Diego Chargers, has mitigated the impact of Austin’s injury issues. Robinson has career highs in catches (38), yards (554) and touchdowns (seven). All of Robinson’s scores came in the last five games, when the Cowboys went 4-1 and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Austin was riding the stationary bike during the portion of practice open to the media, as was fullback Tony Fiammetta, who will miss his third straight game with an illness. Backup nose tackle Josh Brent (knee), running back Phillip Tanner (hamstring) and quarterback Jon Kitna (back) were also missing from practice.