IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman left pre-game warmups with back spasms and was in the locker room for the national anthem, but he trotted out just in time to start Thursday's game against Tennessee.

Aikman, whose back has nagged him nearly all season, received treatment and took muscle relaxers as the game began with the Oilers on offense. He emerged from the tunnel at the 10:32 mark, just as Tennessee was trying to convert a fourth-and-1 from midfield. The Dallas defense held and Aikman was under center when the Cowboys offense took over.

He got off to a bad start as his second pass was intercepted by Marcus Robertson. Aikman chased him down after 48 yards and shoved him out of bounds. Although he fell and rolled while making the play, Aikman did not appear to reinjure himself.

Had Dallas received the opening kickoff, Aikman likely would have missed his first mid-season start since Thanksgiving 1994. He didn't start last year's season finale, but the game was meaningless.