IRVING, Texas – It’s a dangerous proclamation to ever call the Dallas Cowboys particularly healthy these days.
Injuries have devastated the Cowboys recently, ending the season for Barry Church, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Jay Ratliff last year and forcing DeMarcus Ware to hobble through the last few games. Add to that list Tony Romo’s back surgery prior to Organized Team Activities (OTAs) this year, and it’s clear Dallas needed the offseason break as much as any team.
But that time off benefited the Cowboys tremendously, and the majority of the regulars finally appear ready to participate fully for the beginning of training camp.
The starting guards nursed injuries once again this offseason and only participated on a limited basis during practices, but Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings are expected to be back on the field for the start of camp. They should be joined by tackle Jermey Parnell and safety Danny McCray, both of whom missed time during minicamp.
The backfield will also regain its key members. DeMarco Murray missed time this offseason, working out on the side with resistance cords early on, but he’s expected to be full go and ready to take on the workload after proclaiming he’ll play every game this year.
He’ll be joined for the first time by the draft pick selected to be his backup, Joseph Randle, who’s been off to the side during every practice thus far while waiting for his surgically repaired wrist to heal. The cast he’s worn could be replaced by a splint or brace of some sort, but he’s already said he’ll be ready to go for camp.
“It’s not going to be anything that’s going to hinder me from doing what I’ve got to do,” Randle said after minicamp.
That should give the Cowboys a handful of players to keep an eye on at running back, with Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner needing to prove their worth and undrafted rookie Kendial Lawrence looking to make another impression.
This doesn’t mean the injury bug won’t come biting back once again.
The injuries are inevitable, especially early during training camp when the roster is packed full of players trying to make
the final roster. Hamstring injuries, in particular, ran rampant throughout the Cowboys’ roster last offseason.
Guard David Arkin was forced to play center for a significant chunk of time during training camp last year, because the center position was so decimated.
The Cowboys’ trainers and coaches have monitored some of the players coming off injury and those that have dealt with recent injuries during OTAs and minicamp, holding them out of certain drills to make sure they’re as healthy as possible for training camp.
That seems to have worked out, as the Cowboys appear to be as healthy now as they’ve looked in a while.