Left guard Nate Livings was walking through the Residence Inn River Ridge complex in flip flops while the Cowboys were on the practice field Thursday morning. He is closer to returning from arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago on his right knee. it is the second time in six months he has needed surgery on the knee.
The Cowboys need him back after losing Ron Leary, who is on his way back to DFW. Leary had taken over the starting role after Livings' surgery and had been expected to start the season opener against the Giants. But Leary will have surgery on his right knee Friday. The usual recover time is 2-4 weeks, so the Cowboys might be back to the backup backup plan at left guard.
"He's doing beter. He's making progress," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Livings. "Hopefully we'll get him back out here in the next couple of weeks and he'll be able to play a little bit in the preseason. It takes time, and we're not going to rush these guys back. We're going to make sure they're healthy before they come back and get ready to play."
The Cowboys have been injury-plagued at the guard position. Livings missed the early part of camp with a cut on his foot. Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau was out early with a hamstring. Leary had a foot injury that kept him out.
Guards Kevin Kowalski (knee), Ryan Cook (back) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) still are out.
"It’s just part of the game," Garrett said. "Frustration is really not a good emotion to have. You can control what you can control, and that’s us as coaches. That’s our players. If a player gets injured, what we want the player to do and think about is think about what do I need to do to get myself better, and focus on that, and don’t worry about anything else besides that. That’s the same thing we need to do as a coaching staff and as a football team."
David Arkin is the one guard who has stayed injury-free in camp. He will start at left guard against the Cardinals this week. But in two seasons, Arkin has never played in a regular-season game. In fact, he has been active for only seven in his career.
"Ark’s done a good job," Garrett said. "He’s grown each of the years he’s been with us. He works very hard at it. He has some position flex inside because he’s played so many different spots -- right side, left side. He’s played some center for us as well. He’s working hard, trying to get better. He’s the kind of guy that you want because it’s really important to him."
The Cowboys still could sign Brian Waters. They offered the Waxahachie resident a contract, but he has yet to commit. He has not played since 2011 when he was with the Patriots.
-- Charean Williams