Aikman To Play On Turkey Day

An undated file photo of John A. "Junior" Gotti, son of the convicted New York mob boss, outside Federal Court House in White Plains, N.Y.

Troy Aikman, headache-free and confident that he's not prone to concussions, will start for the Dallas Cowboys Thursday against the Miami Dolphins.

Aikman went through light drills with the team Monday for the first time since Nov. 8, when a sack against Minnesota left him with a second concussion in eight days. He's missed two games as a precaution and has used the time off to visit specialists.

"I think we've been very careful with it," Aikman said. "I've been able to work out the past week and feel pretty good. It would be nice if it was a Sunday ballgame. I feel confident everything is in order."

Aikman, who turned 33 on Sunday, was especially concerned because the hit that caused the second concussion wasn't as hard as the first one, yet symptoms such as headaches and dizziness were worse.

Part of the cumulative effect of concussions is that they're easier to get and the side effects last longer. Aikman has had eight concussions in his 11-year career and 10 in his life.

But the doctors he saw assured him that those numbers aren't that bad. The specialists said they've seen NHL players who've suffered 30-40 concussions in 11 years.

"Hearing both doctors, completely separate from each other, say they didn't think that was an extreme amount was very positive," Aikman said. "They don't feel I'm susceptible to concussions at all considering the number of hits I take in a ballgame or over the course of a year. That gave me a great deal of peace of mind."

Aikman also got a better education on the field of concussions, and the exams by the specialists give them something to compare future exams to should he be hurt again.

"If I do run into this down the road, there are some guys I know that I can go see," he said. "So I'm much further along if I face it again than I was this time."

Dallas (5-5) went 1-1 in Aikman's absence. The Cowboys lost 13-9 to Arizona on Sunday and beat Green Bay 27-13 the previous week.

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