“The discussions we’ve had over the last few days, it’s my understanding that he’s allowed to be in it,” coach Jason Garrett said.
Smith did not play as a rookie as he recovered from a serious left knee injury that included nerve damage, which prevented him from being able to lift his foot. He spent last season on the non-football injury list going through rehab.
In Phase 1 of the Cowboys’ offseason workout program, Smith has done everything. Phase 2 of the offseason program starts next week with the on-field teaching sessions that don’t include any work between the offense and defense.
On Monday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Smith has shown improvement in recent weeks and has the ability to lift his toes. A recent electromyogram, a test used to record the electrical activity of the muscles, also showed the nerves are firing.
Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week, executive vice president Stephen Jones said Smith has a “great opportunity to really start to have full regeneration as we close in on the season.”
Smith has worn a brace on his foot throughout his rehab and offseason work. The Cowboys believe he would be able to play in a game with the brace if needed.
The Cowboys surprised many by taking Smith in the second round, No. 34 overall, last year, knowing he would likely need a redshirt season because of the injury. If Smith hadn’t been injured, he could have been the top pick in the draft after an illustrious career at Notre Dame.
The Cowboys were willing to take a chance because one of their team physicians, Dr. Daniel Cooper, performed the operation on Smith.
It won’t be in full pads or against the Cowboys’ veterans, but in two weeks Smith will be on the field in 11-on-11 drills for the first time in more than a year.