There were a total of six players moved to the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list by the Dallas Cowboys to begin training camp in Oxnard, California, and none more notable than Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence. As reported by CBS Sports at the time and later confirmed by head coach Mike McCarthy, however, there are no longterm concerns regarding either of the Pro Bowlers. This was hammered home recently by owner Jerry Jones who, speaking to the media on Sunday, set a projected timeline for the return of both.
If his prediction holds true, they'll have plenty of time to spare before the season opener against Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolls around on Sept. 9.
"I'll bet it's after Arizona," said Jones.
He's referring to the second preseason game this August, when the Cowboys meet the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Aug. 13. That means the expectation is both Cooper and Lawrence would be back in training camp practice ahead of their preseason bout with the Houston Texans on Aug. 21, which is good news as far as the number of practices they'll participate in before September, but don't expect either to take the field before the games actually matter.
Considering both are coming off of offseason surgery -- an ankle procedure for Cooper and clean-up surgery on Lawrence's back -- and their value to what has to be a bounce-back year for the Cowboys, if either get preseason reps in August, they'll be minimal. It will likely be a similar blueprint to how the Cowboys will manage a returning Dak Prescott, the expectation being the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback will get reps in the preseason to help shake off the rust of being gone since Week 5 of 2020, but it's unlikely it'll be to a massive degree.
Balancing the need for cornerstone players to get live game reps against the risk of a potential setback is something the Cowboys are taking very seriously, while understanding they need to hit the ground running in the primetime matchup with Brady.
"We'll get some game activity, I think, out of all of those guys," Jones said.