The Cowboys are proving during this training camp and preseason that once again, injuries and rehabs are always going to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Some players such as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarcus Lawrence are not playing in any of the preseason games as they will get themselves ready for the Bucs on Sept. 9 in Tampa Bay.
But the exception to the rule has been Amari Cooper, who played Saturday night against the Texans for the first time this offseason. In fact, he had only returned to practice for the first time this week.
The sixth-year receiver, coming off an ankle surgery this offseason, said it's the first time he put playing in the preseason as a high priority.
"It went well. I felt good," Cooper said Saturday night. "This was the first time I really needed those reps before the first game."
Cooper said he wasn't worried about sitting out too long between meaningful games, but he said the actual playing time should prepare him the season opener against the world champs.
"I wouldn't say I'm rusty, I would say I haven't played in a long time. I haven't ran routes against somebody in a long time," Cooper said. "This was my third time to have the pads on since January. Not rust, I needed to get that feel of competing before it actually matters."
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said he was more than pleased by the work Cooper got in the game, coupled by the practice snaps in the week leading up to Saturday.
"Amari's had a great week of practice. Just to really get him back in there was the point," McCarthy said. "Frankly, we just played Amari, Michael, and CeeDee the first two series, just wanted to get them approximately 10 to 12 snaps."
Cooper was able to run a few routes, but had no receptions and wasn't even credited with an official target.
Still, it was the work that was satisfying enough.
"I had practiced only twice before today. It felt kind of foreign for me to be practicing," Cooper said. "I haven't done anything in seven months. Without playing in the fourth preseason game, I'll get the opportunity to practice for three weeks."