- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who's been out since the team's first preseason game with a lacerated spleen, has been cleared by doctors and will play in Wednesday night's regular-season opener against the New York Giants. Witten was on the field during warmups, catching passes from quarterback Tony Romo, and around 7 pm when the inactives were released for the game, Witten's name was not on the Cowboys' list.
It's a bit of a surprise, since Witten had been listed as doubtful for the game and the team was determined to be extremely careful with an injury to an internal organ. But they've apparently been assured that Witten cannot do any further damage to himself by playing, and so he's good to go. It's a great break for the Cowboys' offense, assuming he doesn't injure himself further.
Starting wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, who missed time in the preseason with knee and hamstring injuries, respectively, are active as expected. Not playing for the Cowboys tonight are cornerback Mike Jenkins, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, safety Matt Johnson, safety Danny McCray, linebacker Kyle Wilber, guard David Arkin and tight end Colin Cochart. Ratliff is out with a high ankle sprain, and Jenkins is recovering from shoulder surgery.
For the Giants, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks will play as expected. He'd been listed as questionable with a foot injury that kept him out of training camp and the first three preseason games. Also active for the game are left tackle Will Beatty, linebacker Michael Boley, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka and cornerback Jayron Hosley. All had been in doubt with various injuries, and it's clear Beatty and Boley aren't all the way back from theirs. Sean Locklear will start at left tackle in place of Beatty, and Keith Rivers is starting at weakside linebacker in place of Boley.
The inactive players for the Giants are wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, cornerback Prince Amukamara, running back Da'Rel Scott, guard Mitch Petrus, defensive end Adewale Ojomo, tackle James Brewer and defensive tackle Marvin Austin. None is a huge surprise. Amukamara has a high ankle sprain, and Michael Coe will start in his place at cornerback opposite Corey Webster.
The Giants' secondary is something to watch in this game, with Coe starting and rookie nickel cornerback Hosely banged-up. It may have been less of an issue if Romo didn't have all of his receiving weapons healthy. But with Witten in the lineup, there could be matchup issues in the secondary.