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Felix Jones practices; Phillip Tanner in Cowboys' mix

Felix Jones returned to practice Thursday despite his bruised knee, but he wasn't the only Dallas Cowboys running back to take reps with the first team.

Phillip Tanner also has received a lot of work this week with the starters, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, including on Wednesday, when Jones was out of practice. Jones is cautiously expected to start against the New York Giants on Sunday in a massive early game for the Cowboys.

Tanner could wind up splitting carries even if Jones makes it through the game. And it wouldn't be a surprise if Tanner had to close out the game like he did in Baltimore and Carolina.

Tanner was very tough to tackle last week. He can punish defenders and take a hit. This is a "next man up" kind of week in Dallas, with linebacker Sean Lee and running back DeMarco Murray out. They need guys like Tanner to step up.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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