By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Oxnard, Ca. _ Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins returned to training camp Tuesday after visiting with Dr. James Andrews in Florida to get a check up on his surgically repaired shoulder.
But Jenkins is no closer to return to the field as he will likely be out the rest of the preseason, putting his status for the Sept. 5 season opener in jeopardy. Jenkins says he has full range of motion but the strength has not sufficiently returned to his shoulder for Andrews to clear him to play.
His goal is to return for the season opener but he won't know if that is possible until he returns to Andrews for another checkup in a couple weeks.
"The opener is what we are looking at but I don't know," Jenkins said after practice Tuesday. "I'm not quite sure…maybe once we get my final clearance."
The Cowboys were hopeful of getting Jenkins back sooner than later. It's even more critical considering that top pick Morris Claiborne is out a couple of weeks with a sprained knee.
Coach Jason Garrett said they will abide by Andrews' decision and continue to play the waiting game.
"The timetable they have given him is at least a couple more weeks before he goes back to see Dr. Andrews again," Garrett said. "So the big thing for Jenks is to continue to get his rehab done, continue to get his conditioning done and try to inch the process along as quickly as he can and, hopefully, Dr. Andrews will clear him to come out to practice and he will be a big part of what we are doing."
The Cowboys are also setback even further in their attempt to acclimate Jenkins to the slot cornerback position in their sub packages. With Claiborne and free agent signee Brandon Carr set to start on the outside Jenkins will be forced into the inside for the first time in his career.
Garrett said their focus is just getting him back healthy and on the field first.
"I think it probably limits you a little bit," Garrett said. "Really, when these guys come back from injury you just want to get them acclimated to playing again first and foremost. Just by definition, if you have less time, you have less time to do that. The first thing we want is to get him healthy, get him back playing, and then we’ll talk about being creative with our scheme."