Coach Jason Garrett said Miles Austin tried to play through injury earlier in the season, so this time, they made sure they gave him extra time to recover.
Austin practiced last week and again Monday, so he looks on track to play Sunday against the Giants after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury. He also missed two games earlier in the year with a hamstring injury.
“The biggest thing we’ve focused on with Miles is simply to get him healthy,” Garrett said. “He had a really good start to the season. Did a lot of positive things for us in the first couple of weeks, and then the injury happened, and he tried to play through it at a couple of different times. We really just wanted to take him out of the mix and make sure he comes back and is healthy.”
Austin hurt his hamstring in Week 3 going out of bounds for a deep pass against the St. Louis Rams. He sat out the next two games, then played in the next two but had no catches on seven targets. Then he missed the Detroit, Minnesota and New Orleans games.
For the year, he has 15 catches for 125 yards. And that includes 10 catches in the season opener.
Coincidence or not, the Cowboys are 4-1 with Austin in the lineup and 1-4 without him.
“He’s a difference-making player for us. He has been for the last few years,” Garrett said. “He’s a starter for a reason. He can be a very difficult matchup for opposing defenses. He’s a big guy who is also quick and explosive. We try to use him appropriately, and he’ll certainly help the other guys out just having his presence out there.”
Austin has more catches (46) for more yards (614) and touchdowns (four) against the Giants than any other opponent. He has 19 catches in his last two games against them.
Asked how much it will help having Austin back, Dez Bryant said, “You put a smile on my face saying that. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be outstanding. You’ve got Terrance Williams, you’ve got Jason Witten, you’ve got Miles Austin, you’ve got me, you’ve got Cole Beasley. What more can you ask for?”
-- Carlos Mendez