Cowboys Newman hopes to play

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys starting cornerback Terence Newman still hopes to play in the season opener even though his painful right heel is "not getting better yet."

Newman said Monday that he has a small tear in his plantar fascia, or tissue in the bottom of the foot.

"It's something that is going to be bothering me for the whole year," said Newman, who has started all 64 games since he was a first-round pick in 2003. "Right now, the problem that I have is that I can't plant on it. There is no way I can plant on my foot."

While Newman met with team trainers about how to treat his foot, linebacker Greg Ellis was in Alabama to have his Achilles tendon examined by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

The team also said linebacker Kevin Burnett would have bone chips removed from his foot, though he should be able to play in the regular season opener. Kicker Martin Gramatica has a slightly pulled right hamstring, but hasn't been ruled out for Thursday's preseason finale against Minnesota.

Coach Wade Phillips said receiver Terry Glenn, who had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 1 to remove loose cartilage from his right knee, will return to practice Saturday and should be able to play in the Sept. 9 opener against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys released nine players Monday to get their roster to 76 players, one over the limit they have to reach by Tuesday. Among the cuts were second-year receiver Jamaica Rector and nose tackle Montavious Stanley, both who spent time on the active roster last season.

Also released were offensive tackle Jason Hilliard and six rookie free agents: running back Jackie Battle, nose tackle Ola Dagunduro, linebackers Dedrick Harrington and Alex Obomese, and receivers Jerard Rabb and Jamel Richardson. Rector (knee) and Battle (sprained ankle) got injury settlements.

Phillips said Newman would be held out of practice and not play at Minnesota. The cornerback missed the last two preseason games with what was initially thought to be a bruised heel.

When Newman tried to return to practice last week, he had more problems with the foot. That is when doctors determined it was more than a bruise.

"I am going to try to be ready for the opener. That is the target date," Newman said. "I don't think I am going to miss the opener. If I am ready, I am playing. If I am not ready, I am playing."

Newman said he has been getting constant treatment from team trainers, who have told him that the tear he has is rare.

"People who tear the whole thing have not had any problems with it since then," Newman said. "But because where mine is, we don't know how it would react if the whole thing was torn."

Ellis, who has played all nine of his NFL seasons in Dallas and is the longest-tenured Cowboy, tore his Achilles' tendon in November and hasn't been able to practice despite an aggressive rehabilitation. An earlier MRI showed no problems and Phillips has often said Ellis is day to day.

"We should know more and see exactly where he is after seeing this doctor. We think it's still a situation where it's a possibility where he'll play in the first game," Phillips said. "We have told him where he is and how close he is, which we think is pretty close. We would like to get a second opinion for both parties."

Rookie left tackle Doug Free, who sprained a ligament in his right knee during the preseason opener Aug. 9, is also expected to return to practice Saturday.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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