Claiborne has not made it through a full game since the Cowboys’ first meeting against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 20. He got hurt late in the loss the next week to the Detroit Lions, missed two games and then was hurt in the Nov. 24 meeting with the New York Giants.
He has missed the last four games and also dealt with the death of his father.
Because of the tweak he suffered against the Giants, the coaches want him to be careful in practice. Coach Jason Garrett said Claiborne looked healthy in Wednesday’s practice.
“We certainly don’t want to leave it out here at Valley Ranch on Thursday afternoon,” Garrett said. “That is not our objective. Our objective is to get him ready to go for Sunday night.”
Claiborne admits that is easier said than done.
“That comes into mind, but I figure if I’m going to do it, I might as well do it where I’m at now,” Claiborne said. “Even the coaches tell you to work your way into it, the game is Sunday. But as a player it’s kind of hard to just fall back. You’re so used to going full speed and 100 percent when you’re out there and you don’t think about it.”
With Claiborne expected back Sunday, the Cowboys will have their full complement of cornerbacks available and can keep Orlando Scandrick in the slot in the nickel defense. Scandrick will continue to start at cornerback, but given how the Eagles spread the field the Cowboys are likely to play their sub package defense more than their starting 11.
Claiborne has suffered through a disappointing second season because of the injuries.
“It’s always been something, but I can’t control that,” Claiborne said. “I just control where I’m at. I’m feeling good now so I’m taking advantage of this opportunity that I have right now to just go out and play football.”