Cowboys center Phil Costa returns to practice

IRVING — Cowboys center Phil Costa returned to practice Monday.

After starting all 16 games last season, Costa started the season opener against the New York Giants but exited with a back injury after the first series.

“Really what we have to do is just watch him and see what his health is like, see what he is able to do,” Garrett said Monday. “He did a good job trying to come back from that injury late in training camp and going into that Giants game. We’re going to make sure he’s healthy first and foremost. And if he is, we’ll make our next best evaluation from there.”

Ryan Cook, who the Cowboys traded for on Aug. 31, has been the starting center since Costa’s injury. Even if Costa is ready to play, Garrett said there’s no guarantee that he will automatically regain his starting spot.

“He’s been a good football player for us,” Garrett said of Costa. “He was our starter going in. Ryan has done a good job coming in on short notice and playing that position. The offensive line, just like every position on our team, we’re going to create competition. We don’t have a rule that says this guy was our starter and he got hurt and you can’t lose your job due to injury. We don’t have any of those rules.

“We’re going to make our best decision. We want to see him practice, see where he is and see what the best decision is going forward.”