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May 23, 2012

Cowboys' rookie draft class is conspicuous by its absence

The Cowboys have found out one thing about their draft class so far: If it isn't a wrist, it's a calf... or a foot... or a finger. Only two of the team's seven draft picks were on the field as full participants in the voluntary practice Tuesday.

First-round pick Morris Claiborne still is recovering from left wrist surgery. The cornerback, who is expected to challenge Mike Jenkins for the starting job opposite Brandon Carr, won't be on the field until training camp. Third-round pick Tyrone Crawford injured his calf last week and did not practice. Fourth-rounder Kyle Wilber injured his right index finger in the rookie minicamp two weeks ago. Fourth-rounder Matt Johnson is prohibited by NFL rules from participating until Eastern Washington finishes its spring quarter. Fifth-round pick Danny Coale broke a bone in his foot Tuesday, during the first day of the team's OTAs, and will have surgery Thursday.

Only tight end James Hanna, a sixth-round pick, and inside linebacker Caleb McSurdy, a seventh-round pick, are on the field right now.

"You just try to do your best within the circumstance that they’re in," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday. "We’ve talked about some of the guys being injured, and you try to get them as much information as you can get them and allow them to process that as well as they can, so when they are back and ready to go they can jump in at full speed. You can’t allow them to get behind. If you’re a backup player in this league, you have to do more. If you’re a player whose hurt, you have to do more, because you’re not getting the physical reps. So we make that point very clear to our players, and it’s on them to prepare as best they can to be ready when they come back, and it’s on our coaching staff to help them get ready."

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFL_Charean

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