Cowboys rookie WR returns from broken foot

Cowboys rookie WR returns from broken foot

Published Jun. 12, 2012 11:52 p.m. ET

IRVING, Texas -- Three weeks removed from breaking a bone in his left foot during a conditioning drill at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch practice facility, rookie wide receiver Danny Coale returned to the field Tuesday, but only to catch passes.

Coale had surgery about a week after sustaining the injury at the first day of organized team activities and has been wearing a protective boot ever since.

Tuesday was the first time he was able to work on the field without the boot.

"It was nice to be out there for a little bit," Coale said. "It was tough the previous two weeks, just sitting in the training room doing some rehab. You miss it. You miss that feeling of being with the guys and finishing a tough practice.

"But I'm trying to stay focused on the mental part of it and keep up as much as I can. I can't wait to get back out there."

Standing near his locker with the protective boot sitting behind him, Coale said he would continue to wear the boot periodically until regaining full strength in his foot. The fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech hopes to be back by the time training camp starts in late July.

During the first day of minicamp on Tuesday, Coale was limited to catching passes from a Cowboys trainer. He performed the activities without any visible wrap or special shoe.

"I have a plate in my shoe that helps stabilize it a little more, give it a little more support," Coale explained. "I was on crutches and the boot, then it was [just] the boot and now I'm kind of weaning off, so it's just going in that direction."

"I feel pretty good," he added. "I got to walk a little slower but it feels pretty good walking around just in bare foot."

Coale was also one of three draft picks to sign a four-year contract with the Cowboys on Monday, joining tight end James Hanna, a sixth-round pick, and linebacker Caleb McSurdy, a seventh rounder.

Asked if inking the deal made him feel any different, Coale responded: "I don't. It didn't heal a broken foot. It's awesome to be signed and have that done with. I'm just so focused on when can I get back and play some football."