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Aikman Gets OK To Play

While Troy Aikman has been cleared to play and expects to start against San Francisco, Dallas coach Dave Campo wasn't as certain about the quarterback's status Wednesday.

"I feel like enough time has passed and I don't feel like I'm putting myself at risk," said Aikman, who has missed two games since his ninth concussion, sustained in the season opener.

Even after Aikman took a majority of the snaps with the first team during the Cowboys' two-hour workout Wednesday, Campo said the quarterback's playing status hadn't been determined.

"It's an evaluation process. This is no different than last week," Campo said. "We feel like he's an experienced quarterback. If he's ready to go, he'll be our starter and we go from there. I think it's just a case of us at the appropriate time making a decision."

Aikman didn't talk to reporters after practice, a session that wasn't attended by team owner Jerry Jones.

Before practice, Aikman said he had met with team doctors, who told him he was clear to play.

"They say it's a decision I can make. I'm feeling good," Aikman said. "The idea is that I will be playing this week. I feel like I'm capable of doing that, and am looking forward to it."

Aikman has not played since being sacked for the fourth time in the first half of the opening 41-14 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 3.

Randall Cunningham started at Arizona and Washington. Aikman practiced throughout last week but was held out again against the Redskins. The Cowboys won 27-21, with Cunningham throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

"It was evaluated from a medical standpoint as far as what would be in the best interest for me long term. It wasn't about how I felt following those practices," Aikman said.

Aikman has had three concussions in his last 10 regular-season starts, including in consecutive games last season that forced him to miss two games.

He was still having headaches last week from the latest concussion, but he said Wednesday he wasn't having any more concussion-related symptoms. Aikman appeared upbeat after practice, unlike he had last week.

While he has been especially susceptible to concussions the past year, Aikman insists he has no worries about getting hurt again.

"I wouldn't play if I felt I was going in tentatively. I don't anticipate that happening," Aikman said. "It never has in the past, and I don't think that is the case now. If it is, I'll be the first one to say I shouldn't be playing. You can't play effectively if you're concerned about getting hit."

Campo has avoided any hint of a quarterback controversy by saying all along Aikman would return to the lineup when he was ready.

Cunningham's performance the last 2 1/2 games (563 yards passing, six touchdowns, two interceptions) will have n bearing on the decision.

"Troy knows he is the guy. He knows it," Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith said. "We just have to go out there and play around him and do the same things that we've done over the past two weeks, and that is make improvement."

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