IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens ran routes and caught passes
in his return to practice Thursday, showing only a slight limp at
times. The All-Pro receiver seems on track to play in the
Dallas Cowboys' playoff game against the New York Giants.
Owens, recovering from a sprained left ankle, didn't go against
any defenders during the short period of practice open to the
media. But he took part in some team drills after that.
While he was taking full strides running routes and making some
cuts without any apparent problems, Owens had a slight limp at
times when he jogged or walked.
"I thought that he moved well, and ran at the level that we
were practicing, and those weren't half-speed," owner Jerry Jones
said. "He's in very good spirits, very competitive spirits, very
focused on our success here Sunday."
T.O. stopped and spoke with receivers coach Ray Sherman after
completing one route. Owens then took off his helmet and could be
seen smiling while talking to backup quarterback Brad Johnson.
Seen in the perimeter around the locker room during lunch before
practice, Owens appeared to be walking fine, though he said little.
"You're not getting anything out of me," Owens said.
Owens told the NFL Network he was going to play.
"At a high level," Owens told Deion Sanders. "Not worried about nothing."
Owens hurt his ankle Dec. 22 in the game at Carolina, and sat
out the regular-season finale at Washington. He took part in the
team's light walkthrough Monday, but didn't practice Wednesday
while doing rehabilitation.
"Obviously, he was better today because he practiced some. It
was limited," coach Wade Phillips.
Phillips insisted that the receiver is still a game-time
"You think he's going to play, you don't think he's going to
play, that's where I am. We'll see," Phillips said. "No, I don't
think it would be a surprise [if Owens plays], but it would be a
Jones said it is a "very legitimate game-time decision" and
that one consideration would be if playing could threaten Owens'
availability for future playoff games if the Cowboys beat New York.
But Jones then made it clear that, "Sunday is the major point
of emphasis, and any decision will be made risking most anything to
have success Sunday."
Plus, Jones knows it would be hard to keep Owens out if the
receiver wants to play.
"I haven't said 'no' to Terrell Owens since I gave him the
check," Jones said. "There's no question that he's going to say
that he wants to play. ... Terrell knows his situation better than
any trainer, or any doctor or certainly than Wade or anybody else.
He knows his situation very well, and you're going to have to count
on him to use a little bit of judgment."
Fellow receiver Sam Hurd said Owens has spent "like 19 hours
out of his day" trying to get back on the field and expects T.O.
"He tells me all the time, opportunities like this don't come
around every season, so he wants to take advantage of them," Hurd
said. "He believes in this team so much that he wants to get out
there and help this team get to the Super Bowl."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.