Nate Livings might be practicing by next week, coach Jason Garrett said.
Livings has been out since the third day of camp with a hamstring injury. Without their projected starting left guard, the Cowboys have had to use David Arkin, Ronald Leary and Derrick Dockery in that spot.
But Livings said when he is ready to return, he’ll step right in again with no problem.
No doubt. I’ve been playing this game for a little while now,” he said. “Football is football, and the thing is, when you know it mentally, you’re able to move faster. You know where you’re going. That takes a little bit of the anxiety out of it as well.”
Livings does have the advantage of the offseason work and three days of camp behind him, unlike his fellow guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, who missed all of the offseason and got going in training camp only this week. So the five-year veteran could be able to hit the ground running.
“It’s just about being focused mentally,” he said. “Even though I’m not watching myself practice, I’m picturing myself in there in certain situations. Whether it be fourth-and-1, third-and-1. How would I handle it? How would I place my hands? What am I thinking on different alignments, different defenders? It’s all mental. The physical part comes in practice. It’s nothing new.”
Livings said he’s never had a hamstring injury, so the inexperience with is a factor in his return.
“That’s why they try to tell me to stop pushing because I don’t know anything about hammies,” he said. “They always say if you push it too hard, it feels good, it’ll come back to haunt you. So I just try to take their advice. We’ve got great trainers, great doctors. I try to pay attention to them.”
Livings said the Cowboys have not talked to him about center, but if they need him to, he’s prepared to try it.
“The whole thing about being in the NFL, man, is just being prepared,” he said. “Certain things happen to centers. Certain things happen to us. So as O-linemen, you’ve just got to be prepared. If I’ve got to shift a side, you just have to know it mentally. When you get to the line, you make a call and you go from there. That’s the thing in the NFL. You’ve got to be prepared.”
-- Carlos Mendez