Appearing on 105.3 The Fan today, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he “absolutely” expects cornerback Morris Claiborne to return to the field during the 2016 regular season, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. Jones said he wasn’t sure if Claiborne would be able to play in Dallas’ December 11 game against the Giants, but cautioned that the scenario shouldn’t be ruled out, according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Disparate reports emerged last week regarding Claiborne’s status, as some information indicated that Claiborne was ahead of schedule in his recovery from a strained groin, while other sources relayed that Claiborne was “nowhere close to returning” given that he reportedly tore the bone off his pelvis. It’s possible — and perhaps likely — that Claiborne is awaiting the results of another MRI that will help gauge his progress, but Jones, for one, seems to believe that the veteran defensive back is somewhat close to playing again.
Claiborne, 26, has transformed from a former draft bust to a legitimate top corner in his fifth NFL season, ranking as PFF’s ninth-best corner on the year. Re-signed to a one-year deal worth only $3MM, Claiborne has seven games thus far in 2016 and posted one interception. He’s scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season, so his ability to return to the field is critical not only for the Cowboys’ secondary, but for Claiborne’s bottom line.
With Clairborne sidelined, Dallas has turned to Orlando Scandrick — who recently returned from his own injury — and rookie Anthony Brown to take more playing time. And while the Cowboys will be without Claiborne for a few more weeks at minimum, they are expected to see the return of safety Barry Church, who fractured his right forearm last month, on Thursday night against the Vikings.
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