Tony Fiammetta ready to return

Updated: December 5, 2011, 10:27 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- A key component will return to the Dallas Cowboys' suddenly sputtering running game this week.

Fullback Tony Fiammetta, who missed the last three games with a mystery illness, said he has been cleared by doctors and will participate in Wednesday's practice and play in Sunday's NFC East showdown against the New York Giants.

"It's going to be awesome," Fiammetta said. "I've been waiting for it. I feel great. It's a good time to come back, big game, and I want to make a difference."

Fiammetta has only one carry this season, but he makes a major impact in the running game as a lead blocker. The Cowboys have been one of the NFL's best rushing teams when Fiammetta has played and one of the worst when he has not been active.

Dallas has averaged 145.8 rushing yards per game and 5.8 per carry with Fiammetta in the lineup. They are 5-1 in those games.

Without Fiammetta, the Cowboys have averaged only 83.8 rushing yards per game and 3.3 per carry. They are 2-4 in those games, which included the season opener he was not on the 53-man roster and two games he missed with a hamstring injury.

"With the success that we've had, it brought a lot of attention to the running game," said Fiammetta, who the Cowboys claimed on waivers from the Carolina Panthers in September. "Teams have been stacking the box. It's hard to run against that sometimes. I'm going to do everything I can to make a difference. We'll see. I don't know for the rest of the regular season what I can do, but I can guarantee that I'm going to do my best to make a difference."

Doctors never determined the origin of Fiammetta's illness, which caused nausea and dizziness when he exercised. He said the symptoms have stopped completely.

"I feel like I'm back in shape," said Fiammetta, who maintained his listed weight of 242 pounds. "These past couple of days, I've been working hard to get back in shape, so when I do come back, I won't be out there sucking wind."

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Information from ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins was used in this report.

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