The Dallas Cowboys are starting to get healthier, and just in time for their big Sunday night game with the NFC East rival Washington Redskins. While there are still problems on defense, the offense looks like they might be almost completely healthy for the first time since game one.
Once Dez Bryant came back from his injury, Miles Austin went out with a hamstring injury. For the first time since he went down, Austin was back at practice full time this week. While he will still be listed on the injury report, everything looks like he should be a go for this weekend’s big game.
Last week, Dallas relied on rookie Terrance Williams and speedy Cole Beasley in the passing game because Dwayne Harris was also down. Harris was once again limited this week as well with his hip injury. Even if he makes his return for the Redskins game, don’t expect Harris to start returning kicks yet, and expect Williams to return to the third receiver position with Beasley coming in to spell him in the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, DeMarcus Ware is practicing in full this week, despite his strained back suffered on Sunday. However, fellow defensive lineman Jason Hatcher has been limited all week with neck and shoulder problems. Hatcher underwent an MRI on Monday after he couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulder. Hatcher called it a stinger and there is hope he can play. Dallas needs him there because their run defense has been the only thing working for them this season.
Dallas released safety Will Allen this week and will come into this game with Barry Church banged up, but a hurt nose won’t keep Church off the field with the Dallas secondary so maligned this season. Morris Claiborne is also not listed on the injury report, and will try to turn things around against the Redskins.
Defensive end Edgar Jones, backup running back Lance Dunbar and linebacker Justin Durant all missed practice this week
On the Redskins side of the ball, it looks like former all-star tight end Fred Davis will be back this week from an ankle injury while rookie Jordan Reed should also return from his thigh bruise. Reed has pretty much won the starting job away from the incumbent Davis, and having both men healthy is not good for Dallas, who has had trouble with tight ends all season.
Starting running back Alfred Morris missed the end of the Oakland Raiders game with a thigh injury, but he has already said he will be playing on Sunday against Dallas.
Starting nose tackle Chris Neild has not practiced at all this week after a calf injury against the Raiders, and that might cause problems when it comes to stopping DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ run game.
The other Redskins on the injured list have all practiced this week, including kicker Kai Forbath, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and third tight end Logan Paulsen.
- Austin, Miles – WR – Hamstring
- Church, Barry – S – Nose
- Dunbar, Lance – RB – Hamstring
- Durant, Justin – LB – Groin
- Harris, Dwayne – WR – Hip
- Hatcher, Jason – DT – Neck
- Jones, Edgar – DE – Groin
- Fred Davis – TE – Ankle
- Kai Forbath – K – Right Groin
- Brandon Jenkins – LB – Ankle
- Chris Neild – NT – Calf
- Logan Paulsen – TE – Knee
- Alfred Morris – RB – Ribs
- Jordan Reed – TE – Thigh
For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.