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Full practice reps for Cowboys WR Michael Gallup point to possible return vs. Giants

Dallas avoided putting Gallup on the physically unable to perform list by keeping him on the active roster.

FRISCO — Michael Gallup hasn’t taken the field for a game in more than eight months.

It appears that hiatus is about to end.

Gallup went through his first padded practice last week since injuring his ACL in January. He will do so again this week. If the receiver continues to progress and suffers no setbacks, there’s optimism in the organization that he’ll be able to play on a limited basis against the New York Giants Monday night.

“Michael Gallup will take a full slate of reps this week,’’ head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Wednesday. “We’ll give him every opportunity to get ready.’’

The Cowboys have carried Gallup on the active roster since the start of the season because they were encouraged he would miss less than four games, which is what a player must sit out if opening the season on the physically unable to perform list. The release of rookie receiver Dennis Houston earlier in the week is another indication that the club believes Gallup is poised to return.

Gallup suffered his injury in the loss to Arizona in Week 17, finishing the season with 33 catches for 445 yards and two touchdowns. He played in only nine games, missing time earlier after undergoing a scope to repair a torn meniscus.

Before suffering that injury in the fourth quarter of a win over Washington in Week 2, Gallup was one of the league’s leading receivers with 13 catches for 226 yards. The injury-plagued season didn’t keep the club from signing him to a 5-year, $62.5 million contract during the offseason the day after it agreed to trade veteran receiver Amari Cooper to Cleveland.

Houston, meanwhile, cleared waivers and was signed back to the club’s practice squad.

“It’s never easy to release a player, especially in-season like that,’’ McCarthy said shortly before Houston cleared waivers. “Dennis has done an excellent job from the time he’s arrived here.

“This is really part of our roster development.’’

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