Owens returned to practice, expected to play in preseason opener

SAN ANTONIO -- Terrell Owens returned to practice Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys after missing two days because of back spasms, and is expected to play in the preseason opener.

"At this point, there's no reason for me not to," Owens said after the 1-hour, 45-minute practice, the team's last full workout inside the Alamodome.

"I think he'll be ready for the game," coach Wade Phillips said.

The Cowboys play at home Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Phillips said the first-team offense with quarterback Tony Romo and Owens is expected to play about a quarter.

Owens had an MRI on Monday, when the 33-year-old receiver missed practice for the second straight day because of muscle stiffness in his lower back. The test showed no problems, and Owens got treatment from team trainers.

"I feel much better," Owens said. "I was able to run around full speed and make some cuts and stuff like that."

Owens said the muscles in his lower back tightened up during practice Saturday. T.O. said he had never had such spasms and it initially concerned him.

"It was definitely something unusual for me. I haven't ever experienced anything like that, so I didn't really know what was going on," he said. "I came out to practice and I was running around pretty good, then all of a sudden it kind of locked up on me."

Before being sidelined for three practices because of the back, Owens had participated in four straight workouts since being given time off by Phillips to rest his sore legs and hamstring. The coach-ordered hiatus included three practices over two days last week.

"The time that I practiced, I think I did very well," Owens said. "I practiced hard. I felt like I accomplished some of the things just trying to get some timing down."

Owens didn't know if the back spasms and the sore legs were related, saying, "I'm just glad that I feel better now."

Owens missed about half of his first training camp with the Cowboys last year, including the first three preseason games, because of a hamstring problem.

"Last year, there was a serious concern because it was my hamstring, and I knew I was about to probably tear it," he said. "This year, it's pretty much more precautionary, you know, time to sit out. It was unfortunate that I came back out and my back kind of tightened up on me. Other than that, I feel great."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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