Several Cowboys eyeing return to practice

August, 19, 2012
8/19/12
1:44
AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- The Dallas Cowboys could get several injured players back next week for practices with the San Diego Chargers.

Guard Nate Livings (hamstring) is expected to return to practice Monday and there's a good chance three defensive starters could join him.

Nose tackle Jay Ratliff (foot), defensive end Jason Hatcher (hamstring) and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer (hamstring) could all return.

Ratliff and Hatcher got some work during the pregame warmup Saturday but didn't play.

"We certainly want to get them some work this week if they’re able to do that," coach Jason Garrett said. "Again, working against another team just livens things up and makes it more competitive."

The Cowboys were missing 19 players from their 89-man roster due to injury for Saturday's game against the Chargers.

And that number could have been 20 if not for the team waiving injured guard/center Bill Nagy last week. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweeked his hamstring during Thursday's practice and missed the game. If this would have been the regular season, Ware said he would have played. But the Cowboys are being cautious with injured players, especially those suffering hamstring issues.

One player who won't return fully this week is wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring). It appears he will miss the third preseason game, although he is running well during rehab work.

"Done a good job the last few days in his rehab," Garrett said. "I don’t know if he’s going to fully practice (this upcoming week) but we want to ease him back into it. He made some strides last week and he looked good."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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