FRISCO, Texas -- Last week Zack Martin said he would play in the Sept. 9 season opener against the Carolina Panthers. On Tuesday there was proof with the Pro Bowl right guard returning to practice for the first time since getting hurt Aug. 18.
Martin suffered a hyperextended and bruised left knee in the first half of the Cowboys' preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. An MRI revealed there was no structural damage to his knee, only a bruise.
Last week, Martin went through conditioning work and individual drills in full pads. He is not wearing any kind of brace on his knee.
Like the rest of the starters, he will not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Houston Texans.
"I don't really want to go an extended period of time without being out there," Martin said. "You get in such a routine with training camp and if you're out a certain amount of time you can lose it pretty quickly, so I wanted to make sure I got out there and get the reps to stay sharp for the opener."
Martin said he felt "great," during practice and does not anticipate any soreness Wednesday.
"I'm ready to roll," he said.
Martin's ability to play in the opener will help a line that will be without Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, who is dealing with Guillain-Barre, an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. Veteran Joe Looney will replace Frederick.
Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith is not practicing Tuesday as he deals with a hamstring strain. After last Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he is not concerned over Smith's injury. With the way the practice schedule has fallen, this is the only on-field workday before the Cowboys play the Texans.