Amari Cooper returns to Cowboys practice following battle with plantar fasciitis, hopes to face the Giants in Week 1

Amari Cooper returned to practice on Monday, six days before his Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in their season-opener. 

The 25-year-old receiver hadn't practiced since the first week of August and was held out of the entire preseason slate of games as he battled plantar fasciitis in his left heel, but he showed no signs of a limp following the finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- when I noticed him walking normally as he exited the locker room. Cooper, speaking to reporters following Monday's practice, said that he hopes to be in the lineup on Sunday. 

"What I had before was worse than this and I was able to play on that," he said, via Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News. "The plantar fasciitis that I had before it really kinda bothered me when I directly cut on the foot. That was hurting. This one doesn't."

Cooper will likely be eased back into work slowly over the course of the week, and the Cowboys are off on Tuesday. This gives the team a chance to make sure there are no setbacks after the hour-or-so long practice on Monday. Cooper's progress is certainly good news for the team, but they'd love to get more by way of him signing the offer they put in front of him months ago. 

Talks between the two sides hit a wall earlier this summer, and although there have been recent exchanges between his agent and the Cowboys -- they've been described as more superficial than anything. Unlike Ezekiel Elliott and more in the tone of quarterback Dak Prescott, Cooper is fully prepared to be patient and let the market continue to work in his favor. It's already done so by way of the historic deal signed by wide receiver Michael Thomas, and a new contract extension on Julio Jones will likely reset the market at the position. 

For now, Cooper understands he's not a market-setter, but he hasn't been shy about his belief he could be once he gets a full 16-game ride with the Cowboys under his belt.

That's the speak of someone with one eye on free agency in 2020, but the brass in Dallas will continue to work toward securing him before that point arrives. Talks will continue into the regular season, per team executive Stephen Jones, who stated the Cowboys are "open for business" -- as opposed to shutting the door on any current contract negotiation simply because the season has begun.

Cooper's put a pin in that for now, though, with the three-time Pro Bowler more focused on getting back on the field to drive his value higher.

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