After the Thanksgiving Day win against the Miami Dolphins, Austin expressed hope he would be able to return Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, something Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones reiterated on his KRLD-FM radio show Tuesday.
Austin has not played since injuring his right hamstring on a long catch Nov. 6 against the Seattle Seahawks. Austin missed two games earlier this season and time in the preseason because of a left hamstring injury. He has 28 catches for 403 yards and four touchdowns in six games this year.
Because Austin has had two different hamstring strains, the Cowboys want to remain cautious and make sure he is 100 percent, with three of their five remaining games coming against NFC East opponents.
Austin wouldn't say if he'll practice Thursday but when asked if he would like to play at Arizona on Sunday he said, "I would love to go to Arizona."
Given the way Laurent Robinson has played, they can afford to take a slow approach. Robinson has 38 catches for 554 yards with a team-leading seven touchdowns, including at least one in each of his past five games.
If Austin is unable to return this week, it could mean Dez Bryant would not be a full-time punt returner. The job became open when the team cut Akwasi Owusu-Ansah to make room for fullback Shaun Chapas.
Bryant's 20-yard return against the Dolphins set up the game-winning drive, but the Cowboys could go with Kevin Ogletree as the main punt returner.
Also Wednesday, running back Phillip Tanner (hamstring), guard Kyle Kosier (foot), fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) and quarterback Jon Kitna (back) were not at practice. Kosier went through the pre-practice session before heading inside for treatment.
Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.