Cowboys' D slowly getting healthy

IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys return to practice on Wednesday, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Morris Claiborne could participate.

“Both those guys worked on the side today, and we’re hopeful they’ll be out there on Wednesday,” coach Jason Garrett said.

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who did not play against the New Orleans Saints because of a stinger, took part in Monday’s practice, as did rookie safety J.J. Wilcox, who returned to the field for the first time since suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in practice. He has missed the last three games.

“I’m excited where I’m at, strength-wise,” he said. “I’m comfortable about playing today. I’m pretty sure I can do my job. Last week, I couldn’t do it. It has come a long ways. I rehabbed over the break while I was in [Los Angeles]. I worked it out as much as I could. We’ll just see how it responds over the course of the week. But I’m preparing to play in this game. It’s going to be hard to keep me off the field because I need to be out there with my teammates to help my team win.”

Wilcox said he is not wearing a brace for added protection and he tested it Monday’s practice.

“I let it go and the coaching staff said I looked good, so I’m excited for what this week brings,” said Wilcox, who should return to his starting spot Sunday against the New York Giants.

While he felt fine, getting accustomed to game speed will take time.

“It takes a minute,” Wilcox said. “This is the NFL. This ain’t college no more. The more reps you get the better it is. It's like a delay, but hopefully my special-teams coach and my defensive staff will help me get my reps, help me get mentally ready and physically prepared.”