With the Dallas Cowboys 2013 2014 season over, injuries to several key players took shape this season. The Cowboys lost 77 gameday starts to player injuries this season, including 23 to hamstring problems.
Veteran and well-respected strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Woicik said his staff worked hard to solve the number of hamstring injuries. Extra stretching and monitoring the amount of work players did during practices were some of the things Woicik’s staff did to combat the problem.
The Cowboys lost seven players to hamstring injuries this season including five games each to wide receiver Miles Austin and linebacker Justin Durant. Austin just wasn’t the same player in the latter half of the season because of his tender hamstrings.
Durant was placed on injured reserve Dec. 17 because he couldn’t recover in enough time to get ready to play.
Here’s the list of Dallas Cowboys players who were injured and how many games were lost:
DeMarco Murray, two games
Lance Dunbar, seven games
Dwayne Harris, three games
Miles Austin, five games
Tony Romo, one game
DeMarcus Ware, three games
Sean Lee, five games
Bruce Carter, one game
Morris Claiborne, five games
Jason Hatcher, one game
Justin Durant, six games
DeVonte Holloman, seven games
Edgar Jones, nine games
Ernie Sims, four games
Anthony Spencer, 15 games
J.J. Wilcox, three games
FRANCHISE QB PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE: Tony Romo out for rest of 2013-2014 season after back surgery
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys will officially be without starting quarterback Tony Romo the rest of the season.
Head coach Jason Garrett said Romo underwent back surgery this morning that will place him on injured reserve the rest of the year, leaving Kyle Orton as the team’s starting quarterback going forward this season.
“The surgery was done as a result of the injury that happened in the game against Washington, and Tony will be on IR,” Garrett said. “Kyle Orton will be our starter in the ballgame. We spent the week exhausting all options in regards to Tony’s situation – treatment, rehab, all the different things, consulted a lot of different people on this. We just felt like as we discussed it, as yesterday wore on, that this was the best decision for him and for our organization moving forward.”
Garrett said the ultimate decision was to have the surgery taken care of sooner rather than later. The Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t rule Romo out early in the week after initial reports Romo would be done for the year.
“We felt like the surgery went well, and Tony should be able to come home hopefully later today and start to begin his rehabilitation for the 2014 season.”
Garrett didn’t have a specific timetable at this point for Romo’s recovery, nor did he get into the specifics of the back surgery. He added that Romo, who was in the midst of one his best seasons with 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, was thoroughly disappointed about the result.
“He’s devastated,” Garrett said. “He puts a lot into this.”
COWBOYS POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Dallas RB Lance Dunbar will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys picked up a much-needed win on Thursday, but it seems like it comes with a price.
Today, the Cowboys learned running back Lance Dunbar, who had a career-high 82 rushing yards in Thursday’s win over the Raiders, will likely be out for the season with a knee injury.
Dunbar is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee. The official injury diagnosis is a posterior lateral corner (Posterolateral Corner) that needs to be repaired.
The loss is a big setback considering how much of a spark Dunbar gave the Dallas Cowboys in their 31-24 Thanksgiving Day win over the Oakland Raiders. While DeMarco Murray found the end zone three times on the ground, it was Dunbar who gave the Cowboys’ offense a much-needed jolt.
Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards, including a 45-yard run that set up a touchdown.
But late in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys trying to grind out the clock, Dunbar was hit in the backfield by a blitzing Raiders cornerback. The second-year running back from North Texas went down immediately holding his left knee. He eventually got up and gingerly walked off the field.
After the game, both owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett described it as a hyper-extended left knee. Dunbar said he expected to be “all right” and sounded optimistic for his chances of playing in the next game against Chicago on Dec. 9.
However, today’s MRI revealed more than just a hyper-extension.
Without Dunbar, the Cowboys will likely call on either rookie Joseph Randle or Phillip Tanner to rotate with Murray.
Before Thursday’s game, Dunbar hadn’t received more than five carries in a game this year. He had three carries for 20 yards the week before in New York and figured to have an increased role in the offense.
That carried over into Thursday’s game, where Dunbar also had a reception for 12 yards.
This injury is just the latest setback for Dunbar, who has had untimely injuries this year. He suffered a foot injury in preseason that sidelined him for Week 1 against the Giants. When he came back in Week 2, he lost a fumble against the Chiefs, which likely kept him from getting extended carries and touches in the later weeks.
He suffered a hamstring injury the week before the Redskins game, where Murray also got hurt. So instead of getting his chance to start with Murray out, Dunbar also sat out the same two games.
But that gave Randle a chance to play, which is something he’ll likely be asked to do more in the final month of the season now.
POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Sean Lee and Justin Durant expected to miss 3-4 weeks with hamstring injuries | Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
IRVING, Texas – As banged up as this Dallas Cowboys team is right now, the bye week can’t come at a better time.
Vice President Stephen Jones said Tuesday that he is expected a lot of players back from injury, but one guy who likely won’t be included in that mix is middle linebacker Sean Lee.
The Cowboys’ leading tackler and interception leader will likely miss next week’s game against the Giants, and possible the Thanksgiving Day game with the Raiders as well.
Lee sustained a hamstring in the second quarter against the Saints Sunday night in the 49-17 loss to New Orleans.
“He’s got a hamstring issue,” Jones said on his weekly radio show on the 105.3 “The Fan” in Dallas. “To what extent, it’ll bear out here between the MRIs and his rehab. We’ll see how he progresses. I don’t think it’s going to be anything that’s a long time, but it’s probably going to be more than a week or two, and we’ll go from there.”
The Dallas Cowboys will welcome the bye week with open arms, considering how many injuries they’ve suffered in the past few weeks.
But missing Lee, will certainly be a big blow to the defense.
“He’s a great player and he’s done a real nice job for us,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. “But we’ve just got to plug some other guys in there and keep going. That’s the only thing you can do.”
The problem with that, however, is that Lee’s backup Justin Durant also suffered a hamstring injury in the second half, playing for Lee in the middle.
Durant starts at outside linebacker in the base 4-3 defense, but has been Lee’s backup in the middle. Once he went down, the Cowboys used Kyle Bosworth inside.
Look for the Cowboys to explore all options concerning the middle linebacker position, perhaps even using Ernie Sims or Bruce Carter inside. They could also try to find an available linebacker on the street, like they’ve done with the defensive end position.
Lee, who signed a six-year, $42 million extension back in late August, has had his share of injury issues in his career. In fact, Lee has a chance to earn as much as $51 million in this contract if he can stay relatively healthy and earn playing-time incentives.
He missed two games his rookie season in 2010 with a hamstring injury and most of a game later that year with a concussion. He also had a wrist injury in 2011 that forced him to wear a club on his hand for about a month.
Last year, Lee went on IR in late October with a toe injury that required surgery, forcing him to miss the last 10 games.
Other than Lee’s injury, the Cowboys are hopeful to get a few more starters and key players back for the Nov. 24 game with the Giants. Jason Hatcher (shoulder/neck), Morris Claiborne (hamstring), Miles Austin (hamstring) and J.J. Wilcox (knee) are expected to return after each missing some games here in the last month.
Also, DeMarcus Ware (quad), Nick Hayden (ribs), Dez Bryant (back), DeMarco Murray (knee) and various other players have been battling through injuries that have slowed them down considerably and forced them to miss practice time.
Obviously this is the time the Cowboys can get healthy again and get the majority of their players back. But unfortunately for them, Sean Lee is not expected to be one of them.
IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant is once again working through a back issue, but it didn’t keep him out of todays morning practice.
Bryant was present for the second practice of the week, and he appeared to move well in the early portion of the day’s work. It remains to be seen how involved he will be in the full day’s worth of work, but Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he doesn’t expect the injury to have a significant effect.
“His back was bothering him (Wednesday), we didn’t think he could practice so we didn’t practice him,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett at his Thursday morning press conference. “It’s a health issue that we don’t think is a long-term deal at all. Hopefully he’ll practice today and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Back problems affected Bryant during the 2012 season finale against Washington, and he has dealt with similar problems at times through the first nine weeks of this season.
“It’s bothered him a little bit off and on – I don’t know if it’s the exact same thing, but we don’t think it’s a significant deal.”
IRVING, Texas – There’s not going to be a dramatic game time decision this week –DeMarcus Ware is playing Sunday in New Orleans.
If Ware’s participation in the Dallas Cowboys Wednesday and Thursday practices wasn’t indication enough, the All-Pro defensive end said so himself outside the Dallas locker room.
It’s been roughly a month since Ware left Dallas’ Oct. 13 win against Washington early with a quad injury. His absence – three games’ worth – has to feel like an eternity for a player who had never missed a game prior to this season.
“You get frustrated, but you’ve got to find some type of positive note,” Ware said. “For me, watching the game from the sideline was a little bit different. I see how guys attack us and how they attack me in certain situations, and it’ll make me better coming in this week.”
The parallels to the Cowboys’ last trip to New Orleans couldn’t be more obvious. Four years ago, the Cowboys limped into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with an 8-5 record, having lost two straight, to play an undefeated Saints squad.
To make matters worse, Ware had suffered what appeared to be a devastating injury in San Diego just a week prior. Ware wasn’t just doubtful for the tilt against Drew Brees and Co. – he was doubtful, period.
“I didn’t think I was going to play for a long time, until – sometimes, when you go in certain places, you get certain vibes or you feel a certain way that you can do it,” he said. “And I think you get confidence from your teammates to get out there and play. That’s the way I felt – not letting them down.”
Of course, Ware didn’t just wind up playing – he starred. He sacked Brees twice, pressured him three times and forced two fumbles, the second of which ended New Orleans’ hope of a comeback. The Cowboys used the win to catapult to a 11-5 record and their most recent playoff appearance.
“I think how monumental that game was – it was a big game for us. It was like one of those turn-around-season games,” Ware said. “It was one of those type of things where it was like ‘OK, it’s a blessing to be out here again, from what I went through.”
Brees certainly hasn’t forgotten, and it’s not just the 2009 game, either. In four career meetings against the Saints, Ware has notched 10 tackles, four sacks, one tackle for loss, four quarterback hits and the aforementioned two forced fumbles.
Those aren’t the type of numbers the opposing quarterback is likely to forget.
“He’s a stud – he’s such a stud,” Brees said. “He’s a guy you’ve got to have a plan for at all times – where is he, how do you protect him, how are you taking care of him and all that stuff. You know the leadership he brings, you know the productivity he brings, and he’s just a game changer. You’ve just got to be ready for him.”
The ideal scenario is a return to typical form, but it remains to be seen how effective Ware can be when he does return. His worst outing against the Saints came in last season’s overtime loss, when he was hampered by injuries.
Ware knows he has some catching up to do once he does return. He recorded all four of his sacks this season in just two of his six appearances, and problems with stingers bothered him in those outings.
The result is that he’s tied for just 37th in the league in sacks – a good bit off the league pace of 11.5 set by Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis, and the NFC lead of 10 by St. Louis’ Robert Quinn.
“You know I’m behind, so I guess I’ve got to hop on the saddle and start riding a little bit,” Ware said.
Of course, now that Ware has rounded into shape, it’s starting defensive tackles Jason Hatcher and Nick Hayden on the injury report. Hatcher has missed both practices this week with stinger issues of his own, while Hayden is battling rib issues.
With the issues they’ve already overcome, though, Ware said he’s got confidence in whoever lines up on what has now become a famous group of non-famous people (Marinelli’s Misfits).
“You know what? It’s the no-name defensive line,” Ware said with a smile. “We’ve got guys coming in that can play, and we have confidence in those guys to play. Hatcher and Nick will get out there and play and do the best that they can.”
2013-2014 COWBOYS ROSTER: Dallas RG Brian Waters placed on IR | Micah Pellerin promoted from practice squad
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have officially placed guard Brian Waters on injured reserve after a week of evaluation.
Waters suffered a strained rib, a hyperextended knee and a torn triceps in last weekend’s loss to Detroit, with the triceps injury proving to be the most severe.
The veteran guard, who was halfway through his 13th NFL season, sought out several secondary opinions that would allow him to continue playing this year, but those were of no avail.
Mackenzy Bernadeau will start in place of Waters on Sunday against Minnesota. Bernadeau started in all 16 games last season, and he was the starter for the first three weeks of 2013 before Waters replaced him in Week 4.
It remains to be seen what Waters will do going forward. The Cowboys signed him to a one-year contract just five days before the season opener against the New York Giants. The six-time Pro Bowler played to his lofty reputation in five starts this season, but he will be 37 by the start of the 2014 campaign.
In Waters’ place, the Cowboys called up defensive back Micah Pellerin from the practice squad. This marks the fourth week in a row the Cowboys have activated a practice squad player. They called up linebacker Cameron Lawrence on Oct. 11, defensive end Jason Vega on Oct. 18 and safety Jakar Hamilton on Oct. 26.
Pellerin was a standout for the team in training camp after joining the practice squad at the tail end of 2012. He has experience playing both safety and cornerback, though he has played primarily as a corner during his time with Dallas.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett hinted on Friday that Pellerin would get the nod, as the team will be without Morris Claiborne for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Claiborne injured his hamstring in the loss to the Lions.
POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions | MO down; Church praying; and we’re wondering about Waters
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety Barry Church both left with hamstring injuries Sunday. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said today that Church’s isn’t serious, and he should be back this week.
But Jones was more pessimistic about Claiborne’s injury. He said Claiborne could miss a couple of games, which would point toward Claiborne’s return after the bye week in a Nov. 24 game at the Giants.
“Church, his injuries kept him out there a little bit at the end,” Stephen Jones said on KRLD-FM 105.3. “I do think he can recover and get back for the Vikings. Claiborne, on the other hand, has a soft tissue injury there with his hamstring that is a real deal, and probably more than likely we’re looking at him missing the next couple of weeks.”
Claiborne has had a tough season. He dislocated his shoulder in the season opener against the Giants and has played with a harness. He temporarily lost his starting job to Orlando Scandrick, though the Cowboys have started several games in the nickel, including Sunday’s at Detroit, with three cornerbacks in the starting lineup.
In three games, Claiborne has come off the bench. He played 33 of 80 plays Sunday, missing the end of the game with his hamstring injury. Church played 64 of 80 plays, with Jakar Hamilton replacing him late in the game because of his hamstring injury.
Jones was not asked about Brian Waters‘ injury, but a source said the Cowboys do not have an update on the offensive guard yet. Waters left with knee, rib and triceps injuries, playing 32 of 57 snaps.
INJURY AND PRACTICE UPDATE: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions | DeMarcus Ware doubtful for NFC matchup
The Dallas Cowboys list defensive end DeMarcus Ware as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. He has not practiced since injuring his thigh two weeks ago against the Washington Redskins. Ware missed the first game of his career last week.
Receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) was limited in Friday’s practice and is questionable. So is running back DeMarco Murray, who was limited this week with a sprained knee that kept him out of last week’s game.
The Dallas Cowboys have ruled starting safety J.J. Wilcox out with a sprained knee and rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) will miss a second consecutive game.
The other eight players on the team’s injury report are probable. Receiver Dez Bryant (wrist/hamstring), cornerback Morris Claiborne (migraine), running back Lance Dunbar (hamstring), receiver Dwayne Harris (hip), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck), defensive tackle Nick Hayden (back), guard Ron Leary (knee) and defensive end George Selvie (shoulder) were deemed good to go.
Dallas Cowboys injury report update
Detroit Lions injury report update