IRVING, Texas -- Slowly but surely the Dallas Cowboys defense is taking some shape with the minicamp beginning Tuesday.
For the first time since tearing his right ACL last spring, linebacker Sean Lee took part in team drills. Through the course of the organized team activities he added more to his plate, culminating with three straight days of seven-on-seven snaps that amounted to 14 snaps.
Linebacker Rolando McClain is not practicing but is around the team for the first time since undergoing offseason knee surgery. Cornerback Morris Claiborne worked through individual drills as he comes back from a torn patellar tendon that knocked him out of 12 games last season.
“So far, so good,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said of Lee’s performance.
Lee has not played in a game since Dec. 9, 2013 and has yet to play a full season in his career because of injuries. But Marinelli does not find himself holding his breath.
“Nah, you can’t,” Marinelli said. “I don’t want to live that way. That’s not football. You just gotta go. Gotta go.”
The plan all along for Claiborne was to be ready for the start of training camp. New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz suffered a similar injury last season and is on the same timetable. The Cowboys want to err on the side of caution with Claiborne’s recovery because of the tricky nature of his injury for cornerbacks.
Because of the backpedaling required by a cornerback, it puts more stress on the player’s quadriceps. Claiborne also had arthroscopic surgery on his other knee to clear up what has been near-yearly cases of tendinitis.
“He’s just done a really good job in coming back, getting his body right and getting back healthy,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s taking full advantage of those reps in the walk-through period and the individual stuff. We’ve had a plan for him right from the start. He’s really, every threshold we’ve asked him to reach, he’s done. We just want to stick with that pace. He’ll have a good four or five weeks before training camp to really kinda get his conditioning right, get his strength right and hopefully be ready to go once we start training camp.”