IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has returned to the practice field.

Aikman took snaps as the starting quarterback Wednesday for the first time since he was sidelined by a broken left collarbone in the second quarter of Denver's 42-23 victory over the Cowboys on Sept. 13.

Aikman said he experienced a little pain when throwing, but otherwise felt ``pretty good.''

``It's the first day. I'll get more practice time tomorrow and next week. I need all the practice I can get. I feel confident about going out and playing,'' he said.

Aikman's collarbone won't be completely healed until after the season.

``My biggest concern is getting hit,'' Aikman said. ``I haven't been hit yet. There is a concern about whether the shoulder will hold up.''

The Cowboys will fit Aikman with extra padding to support the bone. However, Aikman said it wouldn't help much in case of a direct hit, and he's more worried about having to use his left arm to break a fall.

Coach Chan Gailey said Aikman looked good in practice.

``He didn't look like he missed hardly anything,'' Gailey said. ``He looked very good.

``Other than the obvious tangible things, it's good to have him back because of the intangibles. He's been a great leader for a long time.''

Jason Garrett played in Aikman's stead and compiled a 3-2 record.

The Cowboys went into their bye week with a 4-3 record and a one-game lead in the NFC East. Their next game is Nov. 2, when they take on Philadelphia.