Jaylon Smith inching closer to return to the field?

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith continues to make progress toward returning to the field in 2017.

The second-year player is on the field during the team's Phase 2 workouts.

"It seemed like he handled the work well last week, and he's just done an amazing job right from the start with his rehab taking it day by day, making progress and we'll continue to do that," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Sunday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If he takes that approach, that's when he's going to have his most success. That's what he's done up to this point."

Smith missed his rookie season after suffering a brutal knee injury in Notre Dame's bowl game. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last month that the nerve in Smith's knee has started to regenerate, but there was still a long way to go in his rehab.

Smith continues to wear a brace on his left leg for foot drop. The linebacker can take part in the Cowboys' rookie minicamp this weekend because he missed all of last season while rehabbing. However, Garrett said Smith will likely only participate in meetings and walk-throughs.

"He's going to do the veteran stuff on the field on Tuesday and Thursday, so I don't anticipate him doing a lot on the field over the weekend," Garrett said. "But he'll go through the meetings and the walk-throughs (during the three-day minicamp)."

These are just the first steps toward Smith playing this season. The Cowboys defense will get a big boost on the second level this season if the rangy linebacker can return to being even close to the playmaker he was in college.