Ezekiel Elliott to play for Cowboys vs. Raiders on Saturday

The Dallas Cowboys are planning on Ezekiel Elliott playing against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday.

When asked by reporters on Thursday whether he's leaning toward playing Zeke this weekend, coach Jason Garrett simply replied: "Yes."

Elliott is expected to play around eight to 12 snaps in his first appearance of the preseason. It likely will be the only snaps for the running back this preseason.

When we'll see the star running back again after Saturday rests on the appeal of his six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy, which stems from the NFL's investigation into domestic violence accusations made against Elliott by Tiffany Thompson. Elliott has denied the allegations. An appeal before league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson is scheduled for Aug. 29.

Although the Cowboys will have to wait until Elliott's appeal hearing to know whether he'll be allowed to play at the start of the season, the Cowboys remain confident in their offense.

"I know the offensive line is going to open up holes, no matter who it is [running the ball]," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott told NFL Network's Dan Hellie during Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access. "We've got the pass game to go with it. We're not really worried about it. As I said before, there's no panic here in Dallas. We're just ready to get going and excited to be out there with whoever it is we've got."

Garrett said Thursday getting Zeke snaps on Saturday is in preparation for the start of the season.

"The biggest thing is having the mindset of preparing him for Week 1 of the season, and that's the approach we've taken," Garrett said. "He got a number of more reps in training camp than he did last year. If you remember he had the hamstring injury last year, ended up playing in the second-to-last preseason game and got 8, 10, 12 snaps in that ballgame. So that is the approach we've taken with him and anything beyond that we'll take as it comes."

Garrett added that second-year linebacker Jaylon Smith will play on Saturday "at least as much as he did last week." Smith played 12 snaps against the Indianapolis Colts last week, earning one tackle, as the team brings him along slowly after he missed his entire rookie season.