By Shawn Lealos
Every week this season, the Dallas Cowboys enter their games with a number of players injured and unavailable. It makes fans wonder how good this team could be if everyone was healthy. This week will be the closest fans have of seeing that dream in many weeks, as everyone but Dwayne Harris and Morris Claiborne practiced in some capacity on Thursday, preparing for the team’s big Monday Night Football game with the Chicago Bears. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears injury report.
Sean Lee leads the Cowboys in tackles this season with 93, despite missing the last three games with a hamstring injury. This week, Lee will return to the field giving the Dallas all three starting linebackers back, as Justin Durant also returns from a hamstring injury. With both the defensive line and linebacker corps completely healthy, Dallas will only be missing cornerback Morris Claiborne.
With Orlando Scandrick having moved into the starting role for most of the season in place of Claiborne, this is the healthiest the Cowboys defense has been all season. That is great news because they have to stop two of the best wide receivers in the NFL this week in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
On the Cowboys offensive side of the ball, Dez Bryant remains listed with his back problems, but that is not slowing him down this year.
However, fellow wide receiver Dwayne Harris will probably miss another week, although it is promising that he has started running again. Harris is not part of the offensive game plan, but he has become one of the best punt and kick returners in the NFL, and Dallas hasn’t found anyone who can provide the spark they lost when he went down with the dreaded hamstring injury.
While the Cowboys are almost completely healthy now, outside of the cornerback and kick return positions, the Chicago Bears are still without their starting quarterback Jay Cutler. While Josh McCown has played very well in place of Cutler for the Bears, they have not won a game with him under center. Considered week-to-week, Cutler will sit out once again as the Bears are fighting for their playoff lives.
Also missing the Monday Night Football game is linebacker Lance Briggs, who will miss his sixth straight game with a fractured shoulder. Without their top linebacker, the Bears have struggled and allowed the Minnesota Vikings to rally for a come-from-behind win last weekend. Without Briggs, there might be no hope of stopping Jason Witten in this game.
Receiver Brandon Marshall did not practice but he will play on Monday night and all other Bears players with listed injuries practiced and will also take the field for the big game with the Dallas Cowboys.
- Bryant, Dez (WR) – Back
- Claiborne, Morris (CB) – Hamstring
- Durant, Justin (LB) – Hamstring
- Escobar, Gavin (TE) – Hamstring
- Harris, Dwayne (WR) – Hamstring
- Hatcher, Jason (DT) – Neck
- Holloman, DeVonte (LB) – Neck
- Lee, Sean (LB) – Hamstring
- Lance Briggs (LB) – Shoulder
- Jay Cutler (QB) – Ankle
- Kyle Long (G) – Ankle
- Brandon Marshall (WR) – Quadricep
- Anthony Walters (S) – Groin
- Major Wright (S) – Hamstring
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.