IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys returned to practice at Valley Ranch with several players not in attendance, as expected.
In fact, there were a handful out on the field working with strength coaches and the athletic trainers.
Among those players included DeMarcus Ware, who has been slowed by a quad strain this year, although he has played the last five games.
Terrance Williams (see below), the latest player to suffer a hamstring injury, was on the field going through stretches, along with Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and Ernie Sims (groin/hip). Wide receiver Dwayne Harris was also in that group as he is recovering from a hamstring injury as well.
Defensive end George Selvie was in uniform but standing to the side. He might get limited work when the team turns in the official report.
For some good news, the Dallas Cowboys did have Bruce Carter out there practicing. The team was in full pads and Carter was participating. The defense could certainly use his experience and leadership for a linebacker corps that has been derailed by injuries. Sean Lee was not practicing or on the field because of a neck injury he sustained against the Bears.
If Carter can play, he will likely join rookie DeVonte Holloman and Kyle Wilber as the starters, although Orie Lemon has been re-signed and practiced today. Rookie Cameron Lawrence is an option as well.
On offense, Michael Spurlock (see below) was practicing at receiver, wearing No. 15. He will also help in the return game, especially if Williams is out this week.
RELATED: Rookie WR Terrance Williams suffers latest hamstring injury
IRVING, Texas – Terrance Williams may not be available for the Dallas Cowboys Week 16 game against Washington, coach Jason Garrett said today.
Garrett said at his daily press conference that injured his hamstring during the team’s loss to Green Bay last weekend. He said Williams “may or may not be available” to play.
“Terrance has a little bit of a tweak to his hamstring,” he said.
That news adds another name to the list of hamstring injuries the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys have suffered since the season started. For those keeping track, Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Morris Claiborne, Dwayne Harris, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Miles Austin, Danny McCray, Lance Dunbar, Dez Bryant, Gavin Escobar and now Terrence Williams have all dealt with hamstring problems for varying amounts of time.
Garrett also said that Harris’ injury status is also undetermined for the Redskins game. The loss of both players would be a blow to the Cowboys’ depth at receiver, but it would also leave the team without its preferred punt and kick returners.
The Dallas Cowboys are looking into “contingency plans” in the event neither receiver is able to go, including signing of veteran return man Michael Spurlock (see below).
“We have to make sure we have some options. Joseph Randle is certainly in the mix there – someone who has done that before,” Garrett said. “We signed Michael Spurlock to come in. He’s been a returner in this league – both a punt returner and a kickoff returner. He also helps with our depth at receiver. Those are all the factors involved.”
The continued theme of hamstring injuries is something that has drawn more attention as the season has gone on. With such an inordinate amount of players sidelined with hamstrings, Garrett said it’s something the team is actively trying to address.
“It’s an ongoing thing. It’s not like we’re saying ‘Hey, we’ll figure that out.’ We’re talking about it now – what we can do a better job of,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ll evaluate what we’re doing, what other teams are doing, who’s doing it best, who’s not doing it well – see if there’s some common ground there.”
Spurlock should be able to help with wide receiver depth, should Harris and Williams sit out. Garrett said the availability of Escobar and James Hanna at tight end may offset the need to add other receivers to the roster.
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys sign special teams veteran receiver Michael Spurlock
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys need all the confidence they can get this week as they head to Washington in a game they need to win to likely keep their season alive.
And while they’ve already defeated the Washington Redskins 31-16 back in mid-October, the Dallas Cowboys probably won’t have the star of that game this week.
Dwayne Harris has been ailing with a nagging hamstring injury that has forced him out of two of the last three games. He’ll likely miss this week’s game in Washington as well and with that, he might not be back for the rest of the regular season.
So in an attempt to add a veteran presence who can at least try to fill in for the do-it-all Harris, the Cowboys have signed veteran Michael Spurlock, who reunites once again with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
Spurlock has played for Bisaccia in both Tampa Bay and San Diego, although he played nine games in Detroit this year.
Like Harris, Spurlock has experience as a punt returner, kick returner and also covers kicks. For his career, he has 80 punt returns for a 9.0 yard average and 104 kickoff returns, averaging 24.5 yards a return. He has five career touchdowns returns on punts (two) and kickoffs (three).
Losing Harris will be a big blow for the Dallas Cowboys. Harris ranks sixth in the NFL with a 30.5 kick return average. And his 14.0 yard punt return average would rank second in the league if he had enough returns to qualify.
Against the Redskins back in October, Harris was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week when he returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and later had a 90-yard kickoff return that led to another touchdown.
Spurlock is one of three players to be signed to the roster, along with linebacker Orie Lemon, who was with the team but cut last week to make room for Edgar Jones. The Cowboys are also expected to add defensive tackle Frank Kearse, who was on Tennessee’s practice squad but has played six games in his career with the Panthers.