IRVING, Texas (AP) -The Dallas Cowboys seem to think it's more important to be rested than sharp going into Sunday's pivotal game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While stars DeMarcus Ware and Marion Barber missed practice Wednesday because of injuries, starters Terrell Owens, Greg Ellis, Flozell Adams, Zach Thomas and Marc Colombo got the afternoon off, too, even though the entire team was off four of the previous five days and weren't in pads on the one day they did work.
Coach Wade Phillips said the five 30-something veterans went to meetings in the morning, a walkthrough of this week's game plan and a film session. Then, they were sent home.
``I just think it's the time of year ... we need to take a look at resting some of these guys, take them off their feet,'' Phillips said. ``It'll keep them fresher this time of the season. That's something I felt like we needed to do.''
of blue pajama pants with Homer Simpson's face all over the legs and the phrase ``I'm so smart.''
Phillips' approach is sure to draw scrutiny considering Dallas (8-4) is fighting for a wild-card berth in the playoffs and will have to really earn its way in. The Cowboys' next three foes currently have the NFL's three best defenses, starting with the Steelers (9-3).
High winds forced the team into their indoor practice facility, and a DJ set up inside to blare music to simulate the expected crowd noise at Heinz Field. However, during the time reporters were allowed to watch, the music wasn't all that loud. In fact, several players were swaying and dancing to the beat.
The party atmosphere was heightened by the presence of about 35 fans, many of them taking pictures of the action and having photos taken with former Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton. Fans often watch outdoor practices from a holding area, but by being indoors they were right up against the sideline.
Tony Romo again practiced without a splint on his throwing hand and said he's ``gearing toward not wearing it.'' The Cowboys are 3-0 with him wearing it since returning from a broken pinkie finger, with Romo putting up big numbers the last two games.
``The pain is pretty much gone,'' he said.
Phillips said Ware (hyperextended knee) and Barber (dislocated pinkie toe) likely won't practice Thursday, either, but he's hopeful both can play Sunday.
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