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Cowboys likely to be without WR Owens again

IRVING, Texas (Aug. 23, 2006) -- Terrell Owens reaggravated his left hamstring injury when he returned to practice last week for the Dallas Cowboys and almost certainly will miss his third consecutive preseason game.

"It's frustrating, but it's not where I need it to be to play and perform like I need to," Owens said. "So at this point, I'm going to be smart about it."

Asked if he could play if this was the regular season, Owens said, "I doubt it, not the way I need to play."

After missing 14 consecutive training camp practices and the preseason opener in Seattle because of the hamstring problem that has bothered him all month, Owens returned for five practices last week. He missed the final full workout in Oxnard, Calif., last weekend and didn't play Monday night against New Orleans in Shreveport, La., after the hamstring tightened up on him.

Owens was back on the field Aug. 16 after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested that the receiver needed to learn how to practice at less than 100 percent. His first practice back came only hours after coach Bill Parcells reiterated that Owens needed to be on the field.

"I felt like I was never pressured to get back on the field. I just tried to compromise with some people, just try to be around the team and get back out there," Owens said. "It just flared up again."

Owens first felt a twinge in his hamstring Aug. 2, but an MRI taken three days later was clear. Owens said another MRI taken this week was also negative, with only a little fluid in the hamstring.

"Just because the MRI doesn't show anything, that doesn't mean that I'm not hurting," Owens said.

The Cowboys will play their first home preseason game Aug. 26 against San Francisco, Owens' original team. They will play their final preseason game five nights later.

It's possible that Owens might not play in a game for Dallas until the Sept. 10 season opener at Jacksonville. He hasn't played in a game with quarterback Drew Bledsoe, and the Dallas offense is different from the West Coast scheme Owens played in for the 49ers and Philadelphia.

"He is pretty much up on what to do," Parcells said. "He has been very attentive in meetings and trying to learn. There are some adjustments for him to make. Where he is and actually doing it is hard to tell."

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