Cowboys' Aikman Can Return Any Time

Tuesday, September 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Randall Cunningham's solid performance for the Dallas Cowboys won't have an impact on when Troy Aikman returns to the starting lineup.

Cowboys coach Dave Campo said Tuesday that Aikman will be the starting quarterback again when he's able to return from his ninth career concussion.

``It really has nothing to do with anything other than Troy being in the right situation. In other words, if he's ready to go, he'll start,'' Campo said.

Aikman has missed two games, including Monday night's 27-21 victory at Washington in which Cunningham threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys (1-2) play at home Sunday against San Francisco (0-3).

Aikman has had three concussions in his last 10 regular-season starts, including in consecutive games last season. Those injuries led to two missed starts. He was still having headaches last week from the latest concussion, suffered in the Sept. 3 season opener.

Campo said Tuesday he's not sure when a final decision will be made on Aikman's status.

``We're in an evaluation mode again. We are going to continue to monitor Troy, both in his eyes, in our eyes and in the doctors' eyes,'' the coach said. ``I don't have a timetable for making a decision on that.

``It's a medical issue and a philosophical issue as far as his down-the-road abilities with the club. This was not a five-minute decision.''

As he has since Aikman suffered the concussion, Campo refused to say what, if any, symptoms the quarterback was experiencing.

The players had the day off Tuesday. Aikman hasn't practiced since last Thursday.

While the Aikman question remains unanswered, the Cowboys were feeling a sense of relief after finally getting their first victory.

``Going into the season, we had expectations. We didn't expect to be 0-2,'' Campo said. ``We were looking for that first win. That was important if we were going to successful.''

Before the victory at Washington _ their rival and the team that had a $100 million offseason makeover _ Dallas was humiliated by Philadelphia (41-14) and had an agonizing loss at Arizona (32-31). The Cowboys also lost all five of their preseason games.

``We made some progress. We wanted to get better and improve, and obviously to keep from going 0-3,'' Campo said. ``That was a big win, no question about it. But how big is it?

``If we go into this game this weekend and don't do what we are supposed to do, it was just another game.''