FRISCO, Texas -- As the Dallas Cowboys begin preparations for their season opener against the New York Giants with practice Monday, coach Jason Garrett would not commit to a time frame for when Ezekiel Elliott needs to be with the team in order to play.
"Zeke is as capable as anybody I know. He's an experienced player, he's been a really good player for us, he knows our system of football," Garrett said. "I don't think they'll be a lot of learning there. He's a smart guy, an instinctive guy. But again, that's a hypothetical. We're just focused on the guys we have right now. We're going to go practice as well as we can the right way to prepare for the Giants."
Conditioning could be a factor with Elliott, since he missed all of training camp. Elliott has been in Cabo reportedly working out.
"There's a playing progression we have every year with our guys. But again, this is a different situation than that," Garrett said. "You try to treat each situation on its merits, specifically based on the guy and what the particular situation is."
With the Cowboys beginning the regular season, the running back faces a new set of potential fines with his holdout.
Elliott is subject to fines of $39,890 a day for missing work. He would not be subject to a fine on scheduled off days for the players. Each game missed will cost him a little more than $226,000 in base salary, plus he could potentially be fined for missed meetings and other team protocol. According to the collective bargaining agreement, if Elliott does not report for the first game, then the Cowboys could come after another 25% of his prorated signing bonus ($1.02 million).
The Cowboys and Elliott's agents spoke over the weekend, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting sources saying that talks were "intensifying," but the Cowboys are set to begin their first full-fledged practice for Sunday's season opener at 11:45 a.m. CT without their running back.
According to a source, the Cowboys will call up running back Jordan Chunn from the practice squad on Monday and will place rookie guard Connor McGovern on injured reserve with a pectoral muscle injury. Chunn gives the Cowboys four running backs on the 53-man roster, joining Tony Pollard, Alfred Morris and fullback Jamize Olawale. While Chunn's addition could be viewed as preparation for Elliott to not be available against the Giants, he can also play on special teams.
Elliott could be on the hook for fines totaling $1.48 million for missing 37 days of training camp.
The fines are at the discretion of the Cowboys and it is not known whether they would look to collect.