2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE: Rookie DeMarcus Lawrence out with broken foot | DE back to Dallas for surgery | Garrett, Marinelli discuss options without Lawrence | Analysis
DeMarcus Lawrence Goes Down | :27 | Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end and second round draft pick DeMarcus Lawrence went down with a foot injury during Tuesday’s practice. Reports have him expected to miss 8-12 weeks (Watch Video)
Jason Garrett: DeMarcus Lawrence injury; Tyron Smith extension | 13:59 | Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett addresses the media from Oxnard. (Watch | Listen)
QUARTERBACK BACK ON TRACK: Tony Romo feels like he’ll make it through another five years | Dallas Cowboys Injury Update 2014
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo might not be completely recovered from the back surgery that ended his 2013 season, but he spoke like a man ready to take the field.
DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER UPDATE: Standout CB Tyler Patmon replaces injured S Marvin Robinson | Dallas Cowboys Injury Update 2014
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys signed their first player from the rookie mini-camp workouts last weekend in cornerback Tyler Patmon, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma State.
Patmon, whom defensive coach Monte Kiffin said reminded him on a “younger Ronde Barber,” turned more than a few heads last weekend at Valley Ranch.
VETERAN COWBOY ON A MISSION: Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer dedicated to rehabilitation and recovery
Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer: | 6:11 | Anthony Spencer gives an injury update, and talks about what it has been like trying to recover from microfracture surgery. (Watch | Listen)
IRVING, Texas – While yesterday’s (Friday) focus was mainly on the near-50 players at the Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp, defensive end Anthony Spencer was one of the veterans at the facility after his rehab workout.
Although he said he was on schedule and optimistic about his recovery from microfracture surgery, he didn’t give a specific timetable when he might return this season.
But later in the day, Dallas Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones was a little more detailed.
COWBOYS OFFSEASON INJURY UPDATE: Top Injuries to Watch coming into the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 NFL season
IRVING, Texas – It’d almost be easier to list the players who stayed healthy than the ones who got hurt during the Dallas Cowboys 2013-2014 season.
The whole laundry list of injuries from last year is too great for only a top 10 list, so let’s narrow it down to the Top-10 Injuries to Watch list.
Players who didn’t make the list but should be noted are Matt Johnson (ankle), Morris Claiborne (shoulder/hamstring), George Selvie (shoulder), and Ben Bass (shoulder).
The entire register of players dealing with injuries is expansive, but these ten top the list.
10. Doug Free (ankle) – The Dallas Cowboys right tackle had a cleanup surgery on his ankle, a procedure expected to be rather routine.
While Free should be ready for the start of training camp, if not sooner, the Cowboys need him to be as good or even better in 2014. This is the final year of his contract so it’s likely he will be determined to improve as well. But the Cowboys certainly don’t want a relapse of the 2012-version of Free.
9. Dwayne Harris (shoulder) – A cleanup surgery isn’t expected to linger for Harris, who was banged up down the stretch last year. Easily the Dallas Cowboys most versatile player, Harris is a rare triple-threat. There aren’t many players in the league, or even in NFL history who excels like Harris as a punt returner, kick returner and coverage specialist.
Harris’ surgery in January shouldn’t limit him this offseason but considering his importance to special teams, the Cowboys can’t afford any more setbacks. Harris also dealt with injuries to his hip, hamstring and abdomen last year.
8. Brian Waters (biceps) – This is an injury to watch simply because it could affect the Dallas Cowboys guard position in 2014. Waters contract expires on March 11th and he might not ever suit up for the team again. Waters is mulling retirement, a stance he has kept since the biceps injury in mid-season last year. Even late in the season, Waters said he hadn’t decided if he was going to retire officially and/or have the biceps surgery. The guard said having the surgery didn’t automatically mean he would play again either.
The improved play of Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary down the stretch can allow the Cowboys not to get desperate in signing Waters again. Of course, he’s an improvement over the two, but don’t be so sure he would come back and take Leary’s position. Bernadeau was good enough to keep his job, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys would turn away Waters and his decorated experience.
7. Lance Dunbar (knee) – Just when he finally saw what Lance Dunbar can do with a few extra carries, it was gone in an instant. The second-year running back suffered a posterior lateral corner and underwent surgery following the Thanksgiving Day win over the Oakland Raiders.
Dunbar’s career-high 82 yards rushing helped the Dallas Cowboys rally for the win. But his speed and elusiveness could be a nice complement to DeMarco Murray’s style. Even despite Murray’s improved play down the stretch which led to a Pro Bowl spot, the Cowboys are counting on Dunbar’s change-of-pace in 2014.
6. Dez Bryant (back) – Unlike some of the others on this list, Bryant didn’t have a procedure on his back and likely wouldn’t even call this an injury. But chronic back issues have plagued him at times the last two years. He couldn’t finish the 2012 season finale in Washington and his back locked up on him at least twice this past year.
He managed to play through it, which is a positive sign. But a 25-year-old with some back issues, especially considering he is emerging as the team’s best overall player, is reason enough for concern.
5. Anthony Spencer (knee microfracture surgery) – Like Waters, Spencer might have played his last snap with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s a free agent in March and hasn’t suited up since Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs – his only game played this past year. Spencer’s knee injury eventually needed microfracture surgery, an extensive procedure that is considered one of the toughest to recover from.
The Cowboys could certainly use some depth at defensive end and if they could get Spencer at a reasonable price, because of the injury, it’s something to heavily consider. His rehab this offseason will be closely monitored not only by the Dallas Cowboys, but other teams that might want to add a talented player, despite the injury risk.
4. Tyrone Crawford (Achilles) – We still don’t know exactly where Crawford fits in the new 4-3 defense, but the prevailing logic is he should be able to compete for a starting job someone along the defensive line. He was the first of a plethora of injuries at training camp, and his Achilles’ tear started the domino effect.
Crawford has the frame to potentially work as an inside pass rusher, though they were working him in on the outside when offseason workouts began last year. The roster may dictate that he bump back inside, but wherever he ends up, he figures to be an important piece on defense in 2014.
3. DeMarcus Ware (elbow) – The veteran pass rusher is scheduled to have surgery on his left elbow next Tuesday (February 18th). This latest procedure doesn’t seem to be too serious. But it’s not the fact Ware is having elbow surgery, it’s more about the volume of the injuries now. They are definitely piling up. He only has two elbows of course, and both of them have been injured.
Ware missed the first three games of his career last season with a quad tear, an injury he says is now fully healed.
2. Sean Lee (neck) – It’s always concerning when the team’s starting middle linebacker, who just earned a significant contract extension, has a neck issue.
Lee’s injury history caught up to him again toward the end of the 2013 season, as he was unable to play in the final three regular season games and still seems to be dealing with the neck pain.
The Dallas Cowboys needed Lee late on a defense that struggled throughout the majority of the season, and they can’t afford for that injury to linger into 2014. That’s an injury that’ll need to be monitored, as Lee, who didn’t get surgery on his neck after the season, continues to rehab.
1. Tony Romo (back) – Nothing really comes close. Not only are we talking about the starting quarterback of the team, but also a recurring back injury to a now 34-year-old. How Romo responds from this injury is undoubtedly a major factor in the Dallas Cowboys success for 2014.
Sure, Kyle Orton proved in Week 17 he can be competitive for a game. He had the Cowboys in position to win but threw his team out of contention. Of course, that isn’t something Romo hasn’t done either, so it’s hard to put all of the blame on Orton, who actually played well up to that point in the game.
Still, the Dallas Cowboys need their franchise quarterback healthy. Tony Romo gives this team a chance to win at all times. There aren’t many quarterbacks who could play with the worst defense in franchise history, a below-average running game and still get his team to an 8-8 record.
Tony Romo has been carrying this team on his back for a while. And it finally gave out.
DALLAS COWBOYS INJURIES: 2013 2014 Key injury recap | How ‘bout them hamstrings
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
2013 COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Dwayne Harris questionable, but wants to take Soldier Field
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys could get their top returner and coverage player back for Monday night’s matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Dwayne Harris described himself as questionable for the game with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Giants, but he’s running routes and doing sprints and hopes he can be ready to go in Chicago.
“I’ve just got to keep it as warm as possible if I do play,” Harris said. “I’ve just got to see how I feel. I can’t say I’m going to be able to go or I’m not going to be able to go, because I’ve been running around and feeling good. We’re just going to see how it feels come game day.”
Harris, who’s second in the league in both punt return average and kick return average, was sorely missed in last Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Not only is Harris the team’s top returner, but he’s also their best special teams player on the coverage units and still leads the team in special teams tackles despite being out last week.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley filled in as a punt returner for Harris, while rookie Terrance Williams served as the kick returner against the Raiders. Harris tried to boost Williams’ spirits after the rookie fumbled the opening kickoff on Thanksgiving.
“I gave him some words,” Harris said. “It was a rough thing to happen to him, first kickoff return you fumble and they score on it. It’s going to make you down, but I just tell him there’s a lot of football to play. You’ve got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Harris said he’s going to go through this week of practice to see how it feels before making a conclusion on his playing status. Harris and cornerback Morris Claiborne were the only players listed as non-participants in Thursday’s practice, with both suffering from hamstring injuries.
Harris sustained a hamstring injury early in his NFL career, but he said this one is different because it’s lower down on the back of his leg closer to his knee. Typically, the higher hamstring pulls are the ones that take longer to heal.
“It’s not a bad pull, but it’s one of them things you’ve got to take care of or it’ll get worse,” Harris said.
The hamstring isn’t yet 100 percent and still feels sore, but if Harris feels ready to go later in the week, he said he’ll be on the field.
“I’ve been running full speed,” Harris said. “I went out last week and ran, came out today and ran. I ran some routes today, did routes Monday. So I’ve been feeling good.”
The one bright spot for Harris is the rest allows him to rest the bevy of injuries he fought through previously during the season. He said he’d been playing with a shoulder injury, a hip injury and a tear in his lower abdomen.
“It definitely gives me a chance to get a little bit more healthy,” he said. “It just gives me a chance to rest up, get my whole body back together, so that way I can be back to my old self and be back quicker, faster and more explosive.”
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.
TEXAS 2 TWISTER: Dallas Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff vows to return
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff finally broke his silence regarding the groin and hamstring injuries that have landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, sidelining him for at least the first six games of the season.
Ratliff, 32, said he’s extremely disappointed in the setbacks in his rehab and vowed that he would return to the field with season, while alluded to tensions with the Cowboys training staff as reasons why he worked away from the facility during the off season.
“Absolutely I’m disappointed,” Ratliff said of the team’s annual kickoff luncheon at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday. “But everyone knew what the issue was way before hand. Everyone knew what it was since last year. I’m not going into much more detail other than that…It’s for sure it’s not a hamstring tweak. Thank you.
Ratliff missed ten games last season, including the last six because surgery to repair a sports hernia. He didn’t use the Cowboys doctors for surgery and paid for his own rehab in the off season.
Ratliff returned the Cowboys for OTAs and minicamp and appeared to be gearing up for training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury during pre-camp conditioning drills.
Asked why he rehabbed away from the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch headquarters, Ratliff declined to go into details.
“I’d rather not say,” Ratliff said. “Let’s just keep the focus on these guys going out there and playing and winning games. I’m not going to be here and be a distraction to anybody. Just stay as professional as possible about the whole situation. But everyone that is involved knows what is going on.”
Ratliff said he “absolutely” believes he will return to the field this season.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered a similar answer regarded his expectations of Ratliff not only return in 2013 but playing at a high level.
But Jones acknowledged the loss of the former Pro Bowler for the first six games of the season is a huge setback for the Cowboys.
Ratliff was expected to be a key component in defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme. The Cowboys envisioned Ratliff being an inside pass rusher from the under tackle position in Kiffin’s defense similar to Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was during their time together in Tampa Bay.
“It is a setback. No, it is a setback,” Jones said. “We will have to adjust just as we would if it was a mid-season injury. What we’re doing there and his status is that hopefully will move the process along faster. We’re hopeful this will let us rehab-wise, strength-wise that we can do more than just address this where he is.”
Jones said he didn’t know of any tension between Ratliff and the athletic training staff.
“I don’t know about that,” Jones said. “What I’m saying I don’t know any of the details and I don’t have any comment on that.”
Jones also refused to second-guess the decision to allow Ratliff to participate in the pre-camp conditioning test, where he complicated his rehab from the sports hernia with the additional hamstring injury.
“Again, everybody that was involved in the decision thought he could run the conditioning test for sure,” Jones said. “So everybody involved in that decision thought he could run it. Everyone. 100 percent.”
Jones said there no thought from anyone on the Cowboys that Ratliff won’t play this season. He said if that was the case they would have done something different to address the position and not just him on PUP.
Despite the setback, Jones said his hopes and expectations for Ratliff haven’t changed. Once he get’s healthy and returns to the field, the Cowboys believe he will be an impact player in the defense and help extend the season beyond the 10 games that would be left and into the playoffs.
“I hope he’s an All-Pro player,” Jones said. “I hope he can be. He can have let’s see, he could have certainly 13, 14 to go if it went like you’d like for it to be. A player like this as we again we’re just getting tested on our depth right out of the shoot, right off the bat, but hopefully we’ve got the depth to hold it until we can get him out there.”
STUD REMAINS SIDELINED: Dallas Cowboys DT Ratliff out at least six weeks
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys had been optimistic about Jay Ratliff’s chances of returning to the field for the season opener against the Giants.
Now, the earliest they will see the defensive tackle on the field will be Oct. 20 against the Eagles.
Ratliff was placed on Reserve/PUP today (on Tuesday) in an effort to trim the roster down to 75 players. The Cowboys also put Tyrone Crawford (torn Achilles) and Ryan Cook (back) on injured reserve, along with releasing nine players.
Ratliff is dealing with both a hamstring and groin injury, a possible re-aggravation from his sports hernia surgery he underwent last December.
The defensive tackle missed all of training camp nursing what was believed to be only the hamstring injury he sustained on July 20 at the conditioning test in Oxnard, Calif. He stayed with the team for the remainder of camp when other injured players were sent back to Dallas early for rehab.
Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, the team’s director of player personnel was asked Tuesday if he thought Ratliff would even play at all in 2013.
“I feel confident that he will. I believe in Jay. I think he’s a competitor,” Jones said. “There’s some things that can be frustrating when you have injuries. Jay has a real injury. Those things happen. I’m convinced that we’ve got a (rehab) program now — he’s had a few setbacks — that hopefully will put him on the road where he can play for us at some point this season.”
The four-time Pro Bowler missed 10 games last year – the final six games with the groin injury and the first four because of a high ankle sprain. He also missed most of camp with a nagging foot injury.
The last 12 months have also included a heated exchange with Jerry Jones in the locker room last December and then a DWI arrest in January. His hearing was recently pushed back to February 2014.
Until Ratliff gets back, the Cowboys will likely start Nick Hayden and Jason Hatcher at tackle with a backup rotation of Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, and perhaps Landon Cohen, a journeyman vet who has taken advantage of extra snaps with Ratliff out.
RELATED: Jerry Jones on Jay Ratliff starting season on PUP
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted the obvious today (Tuesday) when he confirmed on his radio show that defensive tackle Jay Ratliff could start the season on the physically unable to perform list, sidelining him for the first six games of the season.
Ratliff has been sidelined since the start of training camp with hamstring and groin injuries. The Cowboys had long held out hope that he could return for the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.
But Ratliff has yet to take his rehab to the point where it’s realistic he could be ready by then. Jones is still holding out hope but he can’t deny that sitting Ratliff for the first six weeks of the season might be the best move and the Cowboys only move.
“It’s certainly more of a possibility than I would’ve ever thought two to three weeks ago,” Jones said Tuesday on the New School show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “But we’ve got to look at the next two weeks, carefully look at his progress over the next two weeks.”
Editors test … click on button below to download the MP3 file (Box.com)
2013 PRESEASON INJURY UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys Bernadeau and Hatcher on bikes; Claiborne and Beasley return
Cornerback Morris Claiborne and receiver Cole Beasley returned to practice with the season opener 13 days away, but guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher stayed in as the Cowboys began the final week of preseason.
Claiborne’s final chance to play in the preseason is Thursday in the finale against the Houston Texans. He has not played in a game because of a “jammed” knee he suffered in training camp on Aug. 6. Beasley hurt an ankle in the preseason game against Oakland on Aug. 9.
Bernadeau, who played left guard Saturday against the Bengals, has an ankle injury. He and Hatcher rode the exercise bike as practice began Monday.
Guard Ronald Leary also did not make it out for the start of practice. Leary is recovering from knee surgery less than two weeks ago.
Also not out for the start of practice were linebacker Brandon Magee (concussion), safeties Matt Johnson, Eric Frampton and Danny McCray, defensive linemen Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff, running back Lance Dunbar and center Ryan Cook.
2013 PRESEASON INJURY UPDATE: Cowboys LG Ronald Leary to have a precautionary MRI on his sore left knee
Just as Ronald Leary was getting settled in at left guard with the first team, he missed today’s (Wednesday) walk-through with a sore left knee. He will undergo an MRI later, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
The Dallas Cowboys don’t believe Leary’s knee injury is serious, but the soreness is persisting.
“He has a knee that’s been bothering him a little bit, so he’s going to get an MRI today, and we’ll just see what it is,” Garrett said.
Several teams passed on Leary last year because of a chronic condition in the left knee called osteochondritis dissecans (os-tee-o-kohn-DRY-tis DIS-uh-kanz), a joint condition where a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone beneath it, comes loose from the end of a bone. The joint condition brings fears that the knee won’t hold up to the pounding it will take in the NFL. The Cowboys, though, targeted Leary as an undrafted free agent from Memphis, guaranteeing him $214,000 in signing bonus and base salary in 2012.
Garrett said Leary’s current knee injury is unrelated to his degenerative disorder.
The Cowboys have high hopes for Leary and moved him into the starting lineup when Nate Livings went in for knee surgery. This could be a setback for the second-year player depending on how long he is out.
“As a general statement, we want all of our players to practice and play as much as they can, but injuries are a part of the game,” Garrett said. “We’ll see what [the MRI] looks like and move forward.”
David Arkin replaced Leary in the lineup Wednesday.
The Cowboys already were thin at the position with Livings, Kevin Kowalski (knee), Ryan Cook (back) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) out. They tried to sign Brandon Moore last week, but he retired before reporting to camp. The Cowboys are in a holding pattern with veteran Brian Waters, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2011. They offered the Waxahachie (Texas) resident a contract, but he has yet to commit.
DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Cole Beasley OK, several players expected to return next week
OAKLAND — Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley left tonight’s preseason game against Oakland with a left foot injury. He underwent X-rays at the stadium. The X-rays were negative and it’s not considered serious.
Beasley was hurt after catching a 23-yard reception with seven minutes to play in the third quarter.
Beasley finished the game with three catches for 49 yards and one touchdown. He caught a 15-yard pass from Kyle Orton to give the Cowboys a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
Also, wide receiver Terrance Williams (concussion), guard Nate Livings (knee), guard Demetress Bell (conditioning test), guard Kevin Kowalski (knee), guard/center Ryan Cook (back), guard Ray Dominguez (shoulder), defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (hamstring), defensive end Anthony Spencer (knee), cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee), linebacker Alex Albright (back) and safety Matt Johnson (foot) did not play.
The Dallas Cowboys expect Claiborne, Williams and Albright to return next week at Arizona.
TROUBLE IN THE TRENCHES: Dallas Cowboys guard Nate Livings scheduled for knee surgery
OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys guard Nate Livings (71) is scheduled to get his knee scoped, which could put him in jeopardy to miss the first regular season game against the Giants.
Livings has already had surgery on that knee, which gave him problems last year. A typical knee scope keeps a player out from two to four weeks. If he’s out any longer than that, he may not be ready for the Sept. 8 opener.
Injuries have held Livings and many of the guards back since last year. Each of last season’s starting guards, Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, haven’t practiced for the majority of camp.
Livings hasn’t been healthy for much of this year, dealing with knee pain and a cut on his foot, which kept him out of the early portion of training camp. The knee pain evidently came back, as he missed Thursday’s practice because of the sore knee. Ronald Leary took snaps with the first team at left guard in his place.
Bernadeau injured his hamstring during the initial conditioning test in Oxnard, Calif., and has been out since. The entire offensive line has been hampered by injuries this camp, but particularly the guards.
Guard Kevin Kowalski left practice earlier this week after injuring his leg. Guard Ray Dominguez has been working only on the side after hurting his shoulder. Center/guard Ryan Cook’s back injury has forced him to work out only off to the side at practice, as well.
The Dallas Cowboys brought in two offensive linemen reinforcements yesterday in guard Jeff Olson and tackle James Nelson, and Olson already left practice with concussion-like symptoms.
Other absences on the offensive line include tackle Jermey Parnell, who’s out with a hamstring injury, and tackle Demetress Bell, who failed his conditioning test.
Livings signed a five-year, $18.7 million deal, with $6.2 million guaranteed when he joined the Cowboys before the start of the 2012 season. His base salary is at its lowest this season at $815,000, and his cap hit is $1.73 million.
2013 TRAINING CAMP REPORT: Injuries to Dallas Cowboys linemen a concern leading up to Hall of Fame game
OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys continued their 2013 training camp on the week of the Hall of Fame game. This year, Jason Garrett’s new schedule gives even more time between the lighter morning walk-through and the afternoon practice.
Even the fact the Cowboys brought in one of the best guards in the world, it still couldn’t help their guard situation on the field – an issue that even got worse at the end of this week.
The Dallas Cowboys welcomed NBA point guard Chris Paul, a perennial All-Star for the nearby Los Angeles Clippers. But they have their own dilemma on the offensive line, where they had just two healthy guards for the morning walk-through practice.
That changed when they signed former TCU guard Jeff Olson, who was able to practice that afternoon. However, early into his first practice, Olson met up with Jason Hatcher in a pass-rushing drill. The defensive end got the better end of the matchup, resulting in Olson not only getting poked in the eye, but also had to leave practice with possible signs of a concussion.
So once again, it left the Cowboys scrambling to finish practice. Ron Leary and David Arkin manned the position, while Phil Costa took some second-team reps. Also, converted tackle Edawn Coughman had to move back to guard once again in a backup role.
The Cowboys are without projected starters Mackenzy Bernadeau, who has been out all of camp with a hamstring injury, and now Nate Livings, whose knee injury will force him to undergo an MRI Thursday night. It’s likely both players will miss Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game against Miami.
Ray Dominguez (shoulder) and Kevin Kowalski (knee) are also banged up and unable to practice.
The Cowboys will likely have to keep looking on the wire for available help at guard. Earlier this week, a report surface linking the Cowboys to free-agent veteran Brian Waters. After Thursday’s practice, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said the team will explore all options regarding the position, and certainly didn’t dismiss the possibility of signing Waters, who turned 36 in February.
“We’ve obviously got injuries and we’ve got guys who aren’t back out here yet,” Jones said. “If we can improve our football team, and our roster … if the right situation presented itself and we felt like the guy could come in here and help our team for the year, we’d look at that as well. We’re keeping all options.”
- Lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan and Clippers point guard Chris Paul showed up to practice Thursday. He said he’s as serious a fan as it gets and used to sleep in Cowboys sheets. He couldn’t wait to send pictures of the day to his dad, because his family loves the Cowboys. Paul used to act like Ken Norton playing linebacker in the backyard as a child.
“I’m like a little kid,” Paul said. I’ve done a lot of good things in my career, but this is one of the highlights of my life. Growing up just watching the Cowboys all day every day, these guys probably have no clue what it means to me.”
- Former Cowboys cornerback Anthony Henry was also in attendance Thursday. Henry played four years for the Cowboys (2005-08) before he was traded to Detroit in exchange for backup Jon Kitna.
- Jason Witten ended the day on a high note for the offense. He’s been getting more involved in the red zone recently and showed Thursday that he’s still got the ability to get behind the defense, coming down with a deep grab from Tony Romo to bring the offense near the goal line during team drills right before practice ended.
- Linebacker David Albright missed practice Thursday with tightness in his back. Justin Durant returned to the linebacker corps after taking a veteran day on Tuesday afternoon.
- Defensive end Ben Bass got tangled with an offensive lineman during the full team portion of practice. Bass went down and seemed to aggravate the same ankle that limited him last week, but he got up and returned to the huddle.
- Wide receiver Tim Benford had a scary moment during one-on-one drills early in the afternoon session. While chasing a deep ball to the back corner of the end zone, Benford over ran the field and slammed into the restraining fence for attending fans. Trainers rushed over and spent five or so minutes attending to him, but Benford quickly hopped up and returned to the drill.
- On his first rep back in practice, Benford caught a crossing route from Romo in seven-on-sevens and scored a touchdown.
- Tight end Andre Smith appeared to aggravate a hamstring injury during Thursday’s practice.
- Collision of the day goes to running back DeMarco Murray, safety Will Allen and center Travis Frederick. Murray took a handoff from Romo and broke off right tackle, where Allen raced up to meet him. Murray bounced off Allen and actually wound up smacking helmets with Frederick, his own center. Frederick fell over backward and looked pretty bewildered about what had just happened.
- Offensive tackle Tyron Smith got himself pulled for his efforts against defensive end DeMarcus Ware during full-team drills. Ware pushed past Smith continuously en route to terrorizing Romo. Ware had three unofficial sacks on the day, going along with sacks from defensive end Kyle Wilber and George Selvie.
- Kicker Dan Bailey missed two field goals early in field goal drills, but he rebounded to make five straight. He was also perfect during full-team and red zone drills.
- The Dallas Cowboys will put all remaining single-game tickets on sale to the general public beginning Friday, Aug. 2 at 10 am (CDT). Due to the large season tickets base for Cowboys games, there will be a very limited number of seats available for each of the Cowboys home games this year.
David Arkin – For no other reason, the third-year pro is getting through practice without any injuries. No other guard in this camp has been able to say that. But he’s also holding up rather well in team drills. He had nice some blitz pickups, showing good awareness and had some intense battles in the middle with Sean Lissemore on the first-team offense.
Kyle Wilber – Putting DeMarcus Ware in this category is getting old. Ware only had three sacks in the practice. But his backup was showing up, too. Wilber had some Ware-like pressure a few times coming off the edge. He’s starting to show a combination of speed and strength. Wilber has been able to dip around the tackles with moves, and also a bull-rush attack with his power. He’s not Ware by any means, but is certainly making big strides in this camp.
Tony Romo– The quarterback was pretty sharp in both 7 on 7 and team drills. He was especially good in the Red Zone offense, finding holes in the defense for multiple touchdowns, oftentimes hitting Miles Austin and Cole Beasley underneath. He also threw a perfect strike to Jason Witten to end a team drill, resulting in about a 35-yard touchdown.
Play of the Day:
It wasn’t the best day for Kyle Orton during the 7-on-7 red zone drills, but it did allow J.J. Wilcox to stand out. After throwing a pick toward the sideline that Brandon Underwood fought to grab, Wilcox demonstrated the athleticism and playmaking ability that the Cowboys thought he had when they selected him in the third round.
As Orton weighed his options toward the goal line, he spotted Cole Beasley separating from coverage as he ran toward the back of the end zone down the middle of the field. That’s when Wilcox came over the top and leaped way up in the air to secure the pick and take it the other way.
Returned to Practice:
WR Dez Bryant (quad soreness)
G Jeff Olson (concussion-like symptoms)
|LB Alex Albright (back)||TE Andre Smith (hamstring)|
|G Kevin Kowalski (leg)||G Ray Dominguez (shoulder)|
|C/G Ryan Cook (back)||DT Landon Cohen (eye)|
|T Jermey Parnell (hamstring)||DE Anthony Spencer (knee)|
|WR Danny Coale (knee swelling)||TE James Hanna (hamstring)|
|DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles)||DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)|
|G Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring)||OT Demetress Bell (conditioning)|
|July 21||Signed T Demetress Bell, QB Alex Tanney, and Lavasier Tuinei. Placed G Mackenzy Bernadeau and DT Jay Ratliff on the active/physically unable to perform list and placed the following players on the active/non-football injury list: T Demetress Bell, C/G Ryan Cook, LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur, G Ronald Leary, G Nate Livings, and WR Lavasier Tuinei.|
|July 23||C/G Ryan Cook passed his physical and returned to practice.|
|July 24||Released WR Lavasier Tuinei. Signed DT Landon Cohen and DE George Selvie.|
|July 26||G Nate Livings passed his physical and returned to practice.|
|July 29||LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur and Ronald Leary passed their physicals and returned to practice.|
|Aug. 1||Released DE Cameron Sheffield and CB Devin Smith. Signed G Jeff Olson and T James Nelson.|
Friday, August 2
10:30 a.m. (PDT) Walk-Thru
12:00 p.m. (PDT) Coach Garrett press conference
4:45 p.m. (PDT) Practice
Saturday, August 3
Team Travel to Canton, Ohio
Sunday, August 4
7:00 p.m. (PDT) Dallas vs. Miami (Hall of Fame)
COWBOYS 2013 INJURY UPDATE: Anthony Spencer knee surgery scheduled; young players get opportunity
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer will require surgery on his left knee later this week.
An MRI confirmed a bone bruise after Spencer aggravated the knee during the team’s conditioning test Saturday. Spencer has been pained by the knee since the team’s OTAs in May and sat out the minicamp last month in hopes rest would heal it. But after this latest setback, doctors have advised minor surgery.
He is expected to be back in a few weeks, well in time for the season-opening game against the Giants. Spencer will miss valuable practice time as the Cowboys shift from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense. Spencer and DeMarcus Ware are moving from outside linebacker to defensive end.
With DE Tyrone Crawford out for the season with a torn achilles, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff on the physically unable to perform list because a strained hamstring and defensive Anthony Spencer with a bone bruise, the Cowboys acknowledge a need for help and added numbers on the defensive line.
The Cowboys will scan the waiver wire for possible additions for depth purposes but they will look to the current players on the roster to step up and help fill the void. If they need to add a veteran like John Abraham or Richard Seymour, it will be at the end of the preseason, a source said.
“Injuries provide opportunity,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We have a lot of young guys who we like. Guys we want to see more of. This gives them a chance to show us what they can do.”
The Cowboys will look to guys like Cameron Sheffield to step up at end behind Spencer, DeMarcus Ware and Kyle Wilber and former Texas A&M tackle Ben Bass to fill the void inside. There is a chance Bass could get a look at end but the Cowboys are holding off on that right now.
COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Team near full-strength as 2013 Dallas Cowboys training camp approaches
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.
COWBOYS OTA INJURY UPDATE: Jason Garrett to err on the side of caution this time of year
DeMarco Murray’s injured hamstring continues to keep him sidelined at the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason practices, but the absence of the team’s top running back isn’t keeping coach Jason Garrett up at night.
Speaking at a news conference in Irving, Garrett dismissed the notion that injuries to Murray and several other players are a pressing issue at Valley Ranch. Murray has missed nine games due to injuries over his first two NFL seasons.
“I just think with all the guys with any kind of hint of injury this time of year, we’re very cautious,” Garrett said. “We don’t want to take any backward steps. They’re all progressing well in their rehab. They’re all working hard. So, we just want to keep them moving forward, and (Murray) falls into that category as well as a number of other guys.”
Other players limited by injuries include:
- safety Will Allen,
- wide receiver Tim Benford,
- linebacker Justin Durant,
- rookie safety Jakar Hamilton,
- defensive end Anthony Hargrove,
- quarterback Tony Romo,
- running back Joseph Randle and
- fullback Lawrence Vickers.
Injuries decimated the Cowboys’ defense last season, but Garrett said it’s way too early to think the team won’t be healthy this season.
“You want to keep injuries to a minimum, obviously – and kind of injuries,” he said. “If you look around the league, there are probably a lot of teams that are going through the same kind of things we’re going through, and you’ve just got to manage the right way.
“If we were playing on Sunday, we might handle these things a little bit differently. But, again, you want to err on the side of caution this time of year, and we have to do everything we can as an organization to keep these guys healthy.”
RELATED: DeMarco Murray determined to play all 16 games this season
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray knows he can’t win the battle of perception.
He joined the Cowboys as a third-round pick in 2011 with a reputation of being injury prone in college at Oklahoma, despite owning the school records for points, touchdowns and all-purpose yards.
Murray then missed nine games his two seasons combined, prompting the Cowboys to draft Oklahoma State star Joseph Randle in the fifth round this year to help shoulder the load going forward.
Now Murray is sidelined for the start of OTAs with a tweaked hamstring. He missed all of last week and Tuesday.
While he said he doesn’t worry about the injury-prone label, he does plan on changing the perception in 2013 by doing something he has never done before: play all 16 games.
“That’s something I can’t control,” Murray said of the critics. “I can’t control if anything happens. All I can do is go out there, play hard, play fast, play physical. Once I’m out there, I don’t think there’s any question about anything. “…I am going to play all 16 (games) this year, and I’m excited. It’s going to be a great year for us.”
If Murray plays all 16 games, it should be a great year for the Cowboys.
One thing he has proved over his first two years is that the Cowboys are better when Murray is in the lineup and running well. He has 218 carries for 1,100 yards in Cowboys’ wins in 2011 and 2012 compared to 107 carries for 466 yards in losses.
His importance is not lost on the Cowboys, who support the decision by Murray and the trainers to take it slow during OTA workouts so he can be ready to live up to his promise of a full season on the field.
“DeMarco, he’s going to be good,” receiver Dez Bryant said. “The thing about it is, we’re in OTAs and we don’t want to get him out there when he’s not ready and something comes up. We need him throughout the whole year. Not only for DeMarco but for every player, we don’t want to rush anybody. He’s a great player and he’s probably one of the biggest pieces to this puzzle. He’s doing fine.”
Said tight end Jason Witten: “I think it’ll be huge for us. He’s a guy that plays hard and runs hard. I think we’ll do a better job offensively running the ball. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on that. He’s a dynamic back who can create a lot of things for you. He’s got to be healthy and out there. He’s worked hard to get there, and hopefully we’ll get to see him here in these OTAs. A lot of that has been tightened up. We can’t be in those situations that we were last year. It’s just too hard to overcome.”
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: Tony Romo expected to miss OTAs after undergoing minor medical procedure
IRVING, Texas – Whether it’s a new contract or a new role in the offense, Tony Romo has been the center of attention this offseason. But when the OTAs kick off Tuesday at Valley Ranch, the Cowboys quarterback won’t be on the field.
Romo underwent surgery last month to remove a cyst from his back. The procedure will likely keep him out of the next three weeks of OTA practices and possibly the three-day minicamp in June. The Cowboys are confident their starting quarterback will be ready for training camp when the club leaves for Oxnard, Calif. on July 19.
Romo has not been participating in the Tuesday/Thursday throwing sessions that began last month. And he also hasn’t played recreational golf or basketball like he normally does this time of year.
Holding him out most of the summer would be a precautionary move by the Cowboys, who dealt with a plethora of injuries last year, including a back injury to Phil Costa. The Cowboys’ center missed most of training camp and returned for the season opener in New York, only to play three snaps and had to miss that game and three others to rest the injury.
Romo reportedly suffered a broken rib in the season finale against the Redskins, taking several hard hits in the second half.
The Cowboys have yet to officially address Romo’s injury but it’s expected the quarterback, along with coach Jason Garrett and possibly owner/GM Jerry Jones will discuss the situation Tuesday following the OTA practice.
Romo signed a $108 million contract extension back on March 29 that included $55 million guaranteed and a $25 million bonus.
In the last few weeks, there has been talk of Romo having a more vocal role in the offensive game-planning with even suggestions he might be included in the play-calling duties.
When Romo missed last week’s annual golf social held at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Stephen Jones joked with the media his absence was a result of being back at Valley Ranch watching film like the other “coaches.”
This injury explains the Cowboys signing Aaron Corp for a few days earlier this month. Romo hasn’t been throwing during the week and when backup Kyle Orton wasn’t available one day to deal with a family matter, the Cowboys were left with only Nick Stephens. Corp signed to help throw and then after being released, participated in the three-day minicamp on a tryout basis.
For this week’s OTAs, Orton is expected to handle most of the first-team work, while Stephens and Dalton Williams, a rookie free-agent from Akron, will handle the rest of the reps.
OFFSEASON SURGERIES: DeMarcus Ware scheduled today; Dez Bryant’s called a success
Dallas Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware set for surgery
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware has scheduled surgery on his shoulder for today (Thursday).
Ware said before the season was over that he would likely need two separate surgeries, one on his shoulder and another for his hyperextended elbow. Thursday is for the only shoulder.
No date has been set for the elbow surgery and there is a chance that won’t be done. Doctors will take a little more time to assess the injury before that determination is made.
Ware is expected to miss the majority of the team’s off-season program but chances are he will be cleared for training camp
Dez Bryant undergoes successful surgery for left index finger
The surgery Dez Bryant put off until the end of the season, occurred Tuesday morning. The Cowboys’ wide receiver had a successful procedure that will likely keep him out for parts of the offseason conditioning program.
Obviously, the Cowboys won’t rush Bryant back this summer, but the hope is he will be 100 percent ready for training camp in Oxnard, Calif. in late July, if not sooner for a possible June mini-camp.
Bryant sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of the memorable Bengals game on Dec. 9. Bryant not only played through the injury, but caught two more passes, including a 27-yard touchdown that ignited a Cowboys’ comeback win.
The following Monday, there were discussions that Bryant’s season could be over, but after meeting with two hand specialists, the receiver made the decision to play through the injury for the rest of the season. He caught a touchdown pass the next week against Pittsburgh to extend his streak of six games with a score.
And then against New Orleans, Bryant had arguably the best game of his career, scoring on two straight 58-yard touchdown passes and ended up with a career-best 224 receiving yards in the Cowboys’ 34-31 overtime loss. The seven straight touchdown catches tied with three others for the franchise best.
But in Washington, Bryant’s streak came to an end, along with the Cowboys’ season. After catching four passes for 71 yards, Bryant couldn’t finish the game after sustaining a back injury that included spasms. He had to be helped off the field and even needed assistance going to the team charter on the return flight, in which he sat up in first class, normally used for coaches and front-office personnel.
Bryant spent last Monday in the hospital after returning from Washington, but no structural damage was found.
UNDER THE KNIFE: Dallas Cowboys starting center Phil Costa has ankle surgery
Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa went into this season as the starter, but he was in that role for only 130 snaps this season. Injuries ruined Costa’s season.
Costa said he had surgery last week to repair ligament damage in his right ankle. He dislocated the ankle in the second quarter of the team’s Oct. 21 game at Carolina and was inactive for six games before the Cowboys placed him on season-ending injured reserve.
Costa’s season got off to an inauspicious start when he injured his back in training camp. He started the season opener against the Giants but left after reinjuring his back on the third play from scrimmage. Costa missed three games with the back injury.
"Durability is an issue, and that hasn’t been something in my career that’s been a problem," Costa said. "Never missed a game in high school, never missed a game in college for that. First few years in the league, I was healthy. Just an issue that’s here. It’s something that I’ll overcome, but it was frustrating."
Costa said the goal is to be healthy enough to return for organized team activities this spring.
INJURY–PRACTICE UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed practice Wednesday with shoulder and elbow injuries. He played in only 59 of 95 plays in Sunday’s game after leaving with a shoulder strain. He left with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter and returned for one play of overtime. He said Wednesday that he would play Sunday.
Five other players missed practice, which was moved indoors to Cowboys Stadium. Linebacker Brady Poppinga and nose tackle Robert Callaway had travel problems getting back to DFW after the two-day Christmas break. Defensive end Jason Hatcher (thigh) said he would play Sunday. Linebacker Victor Butler (groin) also was out. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who had sports hernia surgery two weeks ago, will be out again this week.
Linebacker Alex Albright (knee) was limited.
Receiver Dez Bryant (finger), running back DeMarco Murray (foot), running back Felix Jones (knee) and linebacker Ernie Sims (concussion) were full participants.
RELATED: Jason Hatcher’s thigh will be fine come Sunday, he says
Defensive end Jason Hatcher said he missed practice only as a precaution. His thigh will be "100 percent by the time Sunday comes," Hatcher promises.
"It’s doing good," Hatcher said Wednesday. "I’m a veteran. I understand. I listen to my body. It was one of those days I felt like I should have just rested a little bit more. Tomorrow, I’ll do a little bit more.
"Am I worried about me playing Sunday? No."
Hatcher has had 68 tackles, 4 sacks and 21 quarterback pressures this season.
RELATED: DeMarcus Ware promises to play through pain
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware said he will not wear any type of harness on his strained shoulder nor will be take a pain-killing injection. But he will be in the lineup come Sunday.
"I feel a lot better right now," Ware said Wednesday. "I’m going regardless."
Ware, who already was playing with a hyperextended elbow, had to leave last week’s game with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter after "tweaking" the shoulder. He returned for a third-down play in overtime. Ware played 59 of 95 plays. He did not practice Wednesday.
"I’m going to tell you something, 75 percent of DeMarcus Ware is probably better than 90 percent of the guys who play the position at the end of the day," Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher said. "I’ll take 75 percent vs. no DWare any day. Wherever he is right now, I’ll take it."
Ware has never missed a game in his NFL career and has failed to start only one of 127 games. He didn’t start a 2009 game against New Orleans because of a neck injury.
Ware has 11.5 sacks this season, but only 2.5 have come in the past seven games. He has been without a sack in three of his past five games.
GAME 15 INJURY ASSESSMENT: DeMarcus Ware injures shoulder, Ernie Sims sustained a concussion
Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, a six-time Pro Bowler, missed the fourth quarter because of a strained right shoulder and his status is unclear for next week. Ware never has missed a game in his Cowboys’ career.
Ware, already playing with a hyperextended elbow, returned for one play in overtime _ to rush the passer on third-and-3 _ but was not on the field when the Saints gained 31 yards on the pass and recovered fumble play that set up their winning field goal.
Ware, the team’s sack leader (11.5), did not talk after the game. Fellow outside linebacker Anthony Spencer said Ware is “one of the best this game has ever seen” and having him on the sideline “just takes away stuff” from what the Cowboys’ defense can do schematically.
In addition, linebacker Ernie Sims sustained a concussion on the final play of the first quarter and did not return. The departure of Sims, who also sustained a concussion in last week’s game against Pittsburgh, shifted the brunt of playing time at inside linebacker to Dan Connor (12 tackles) and Brady Poppinga (4 tackles) in a game that knocked the Cowboys (8-7) out of a share of first place in the NFC East standings.
Regardless of Ware’s availability in next week’s winner-take-all game against Washington (9-6) for the NFC East title, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects his defense to perform.
"I don’t know of a team in the league that’s not filling in," Jones said. "Now, we missed DeMarcus out there for some time today. But still, we’re pretty sound on where our big emphasis is in being sound and having talent. I expect our defense to play."
DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Ryan unsure about availability of Claiborne
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne said he still needs to pass one concussion test to be able to play Sunday against the Steelers, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Claiborne got dizzy on Thursday.
“He got a little dizzy yesterday, so I’m not sure about his availability for this game,” Ryan said. “But I know he’s doing everything he can, and he’s got to pass these tests.”
Claiborne said he needs to pass an impact test, but that he’s prepared this week as if he will play. Claiborne did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday. The Cowboys listed him as questionable.
“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “It’s still a day-by-day process. It’s just all I can do right now, is take it day by day and see how I feel coming up on game time.”
The Cowboys signed veteran cornerback Michael Coe this week to cover themselves.
“We’ll be fine with him,” Ryan said of Coe. “He’s a good football player. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s a smart kid, so if he needs to play, he’ll play, and we’re excited about him. He’s got a lot of good talent.”
Ryan also praised another cornerback the Cowboys picked up two weeks ago off the New England practice squad, Sterling Moore, who came in against the Bengals when Claiborne went out.
“They let their guard down on him, and we slipped up and gobbled him up,” Ryan said. “He’s been an excellent football player. He’s playing all over the place for us. He’s playing inside. He’s playing outside. He’s playing safety. He’s a smart guy , but he’s a very talented kid and we really got something here with this guy.”
RELATED: Claiborne, Livings, Ware and Bryant questionable
Five Cowboys are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on today’s injury report: cornerback Morris Claiborne (concussion), offensive guard Nate Livings (concussion), receiver Dez Bryant (finger), linebacker DeMarcus Ware (elbow) and safety Charlie Peprah (foot). Ware did not participate in Friday’s practice. The others were limited.
Among those listed are probable are center Ryan Cook (knee), running back DeMarco Murray (foot), running back Felix Jones (knee) and left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle). Jay Ratliff, who underwent surgery Thursday for a sports hernia, is out for Sunday’s game.