Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore was quick with an answer when asked if he would play Saturday against the Bengals: "I’ll be playing this Saturday," Lissemore said.
It was a long eight days for Lissemore after he injured his groin in practice Aug. 11. Lissemore had been getting plenty of reps with starter Jay Ratliff rehabbing hernia and hamstring injuries since the start of camp on July 20.
"It’s always frustrating to be injured, but you’ve got to kind of look at it and say, ‘Well, what can I do to get better?’" Lissemore said Tuesday. "So you just watch film; you watch the guys ahead of you; you watch practice. You just try to watch your position and get better every day."
Lissemore returned to practice Tuesday. He did individual work, followed by metabolics "just to get my wind back." He expects to work into team drills this week.
By design, Lissemore has lost some 12-14 pounds since camp started, down to 298. He hopes that helps him better fit into the Tampa 2 defense the Cowboys are using this season under Monte Kiffin.
"I think I can definitely play in this defense," Lissemore said. "It’s just taken a little bit to transition. It’s a little bit different from last year, playing a 3-4 defense, kind of two-gapping. So it’s kind of forgetting everything I’ve learned for the past three years and kind of training myself to do something different."
Two other defensive players injured the same day as Lissemore have yet to return.
Linebacker Ernie Sims, who was competing with Justin Durant for the starting strongside spot, said he was encouraged by his rehab work Tuesday on his pulled groin. He cut and changed directions without a problem.
Sims hopes to return to practice this week.
"I want to be back this week," Sims said. "But we’re taking it day by day right now, just trying to keep strengthening it. I'm definitely making a big improvement, though, because I’m feeling a whole lot better. I’m moving a whole lot better. Running a whole lot better. Right now, I’m just in the strengthening, trying to build my strength back up."
Defensive back Eric Frampton, one of the team's core special teams players, has a calf injury and is expected to be the last of the three to return to the field. He is not yet running, though he is using the AlterG, a anti-gravity treadmill.
Frampton said there is no timetable for his return."The way I see it, I want to be able to just contribute on the field once the season starts and whatever it takes to get to that point is what’s important," Frampton said.
-- Charean Williams