When Morris Claiborne disclocated his left shoulder in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's season-opener against the New York Giants, he had no doubt he was going to return to the game at some point."They were talking about taking me back in the locker room,'' Claiborne said. "I said, ‘No, I’m not going to the back, I’m not leaving the field.’
"There was talk about 'he’s finished.’ No, I’m not. I’m going back out and I’m going to play.''
As if a prophet, Claiborne made it back onto the field of a wild game the Cowboys eventually won, 36-31. And he also was on the practice field today in pads, showing the coaching staff that he'll be ready to go when the Cowboys play the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday.
"He’s banged up a little bit,'' defensive coordinaor Monte Kiffin said. "He’s trying to tough it out, he really is.
"You’ve got to respect him for that. There’s no doubt about it.''
Claiborne hyper-extended his left knee in training camp and that prevented him from playing in any of the Cowboys' five preseason games. Then came the growns when he went down in a heap in the opener against the Giants.
"I was just frustrated that it was happening, like I was going through this pain and I’m going through an injury again and give you guys something to talk about another injury,'' Claiborne said. "That was my main focus.
"I was just upset at myself.''
Clairborne wound up finishing the game against the Giants with a brace on his left shoulder. But he said it didn't restrict his movement.
"I wasn’t thinking about it at all,'' Claiborne said. "I guess my adrenalin was taking over and I really didn’t know I didn’t have much range of motion in it at that time.''
Moving forward, Claiborne said he believes there's a concern of how he'll react when it's time to hit someone while using his left shoulder. Especially since this is his first time wearing with a shoulder brace.
"This is really the first time for me ever doing it and ever having to wear anything on my
arm and playing,'' Claiborne said. "But it’s for the better.
"Before it slips out again I’d rather wear that brace to keep it under control. I thought it was
going to be harder (to adjust to it) than what it was today.''
Claiborne didn't have any contact with his shoulder in Wednesday's practice. But he expets that to change later in the week.
"I did ball drills, I was catching pretty good, so it’s really not a big difference,'' he said. "I don’t have full range of motion with it on, but it was good enough where I could still catch balls.''
Either way, Kiffin was impressed with what he saw Wednesday from Claiborne.
"A lot of guys might not have put the pads on, and he put the pads on,'' Kiffin said. "That shows us a lot about Mo.
"He’s trying to do it, but again, he’s definitely banged up.''
-- Dwain Price
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