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Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne to return after 9-game absence

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' biggest advantage coming into the playoffs might be their health.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will have cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence and Terrell McClain available Sunday for the divisional round playoff against the Green Bay Packers.

Claiborne missed the final nine regular-season games because of a groin injury suffered Oct. 30 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"He's going to have rust because he's been off but some of the things that he does you can't coach," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 FM in Dallas. "They're not necessarily from experience. They are just his natural gifts and we'll benefit from those. We certainly know he was playing at the highest level and best level he's played his career before he got his setback, his injury. I'd hope he can take right back up where he left off. That's probably optimistic, but we will certainly be better off for him being out there then we would be if he were watching the game."

The Cowboys relied on rookie Anthony Brown in a starting role in the base defense late in the season and in the sub packages alongside veterans Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick after Claiborne's injury.

Claiborne practiced twice last week and is expected to practice Wednesday when the Cowboys pick up their preparations for the Packers.

Lawrence did not play the final three games of the regular season because of a back injury. Crawford missed the last two with a left shoulder injury. McClain did not play in the season finale because of an ankle injury. They were able to take part in limited workouts last week, as was defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, who missed the final three games with an ankle injury. Only linebacker Justin Durant did not practice last week among the defensive players.

Lawrence, who had only one sack in the regular season after leading the Cowboys with eight in 2015, was able to sack Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs two years ago.

"He's really as ready as he's been all season," Jones said. "We just have to see how he holds up."

With the injuries up front, the Cowboys were able to give David Irving, Maliek Collins, Jack Crawford and Benson Mayowa more playing time down the stretch.

"I think we're coming to the game the best we've been," Jones said of a defensive line rotation.