JANUARY 16: Hankins is back in uniform for the Cowboys. The team activated the veteran defensive tackle from IR ahead of its Monday wild-card matchup. Hankins, whom the Cowboys acquired from the Raiders days before the trade deadline, has been out since Week 14.
JANUARY 11: The Cowboys could be getting some defensive reinforcement in time for their showdown with the Buccaneers. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports (via Twitter) that nose tackle Johnathan Hankins was designated for return today.
That means Hankins’ 21-day practice window officially started today. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Cowboys are still in the postseason in 21 days. So, most likely, the Cowboys are preparing for the nose tackle to be on the field for Monday’s game against the Buccaneers, a sentiment that Gehlken echoes.
A pectoral strain forced Hankins to the injured reserve in December, but assuming he’s back this season, he’ll ultimately have missed the minimum four required games.
“I feel good. I feel like I could’ve been back sooner but, with the [IR] rules, I had to be out four weeks,” Hankins said today (via the team’s website). “But I’m not mad about it, it just gave me more time to get my body right and ready for the playoffs…The time is now.”
In October, Hankins was traded with a seventh-round pick from the Raiders to the Cowboys for a sixth-round selection. The 30-year-old got into five games (three starts) for his new squad, collecting 10 tackles. Hankins previously spent time with the Giants, Colts, and Raiders, including an eight-year stretch where he started 116 of his 117 games.
The Cowboys got some more positive injury news today. Gehlken passes along that center Tyler Biadasz and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch both returned to practice today.